The Call of Cthulhu

There are two main things I get from this piece:  the more knowledge humans gain, the more life as humans know it is at stake and the idea that artists are more prone to supernatural beings and events than the general public.  There are several instances where Lovecraft makes mention of ignorance as sort of a life-saver, with even the narrator facing his impending death upon his gathering of the knowledge he sought.  This notion is reminiscent of the onset of the Dark Ages when books were largely kept from the general public in the name of “keeping everyone safe”.  The less the masses knew, the easier it would be to maintain control and order and prevent wild children from jeopardizing the lives of everyone else by going off half cocked after gleaning some ideas from the forbidden books.  But I feel Lovecraft is also leaving it open to the reader to wonder if more people knew about The Great Ones and their origins and goals, that maybe there could have been some way to defeat them or at least keep them bound.  At least I did.


But then, I’m a writer, and thus more receptive to weird stimulus.  At least, this is part of what I get from the tone of the story regarding the sensitivity of artists.  Rather than being ironic in coming from a writer who is therefore an artist, I thought it was quite a clever way for Lovecraft to give himself, as well as his fellow artists, license to document the queer things that run around inside their heads.  I feel sympathy towards the “regular folks” who have no clue as to the otherworldly things happening all around them, as well as towards the scientists who are so entrenched in the scientific explanations for such occurrences that the deep truth escapes them.  Only artists, in having free reign to be sensitive, and ask difficult questions and then document them, have the capability of tapping into and even beginning to understand these things.  Since we are assaulted by the images, occurrences, dreams, etc., anyway, aren’t we really charged with disseminating the information to those not so inclined?  I think that’s our job.



About rjjoseph

I am a Texas based writer who must produce words to exorcise the voices that will never quiet until I give them their due.
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4 Responses to The Call of Cthulhu

  1. Jared Vickery says:

    I think that everyone got a lot more out of this story, than I did. I feel like such a loser.

    • rjjoseph says:

      How could you be a loser with those glorious hymns you created? Those came from your reading, and I only dream of being so inspired.

  2. Kristin Dearborn says:

    I thought it was neat that Lovecraft reflected on “sensitive artists” both in Cthulhu, but also in the essay we read. I want cthulhu dreams!

  3. Mike Arnzen says:

    This point about art is quite astute (you should read HPL’s story, “The Music of Erich Zann” if you get a chance). Artists are almost always occupy the ‘outsider’ perspective (aka “aethetic distance”) and thus see things ‘differently.’ Their receptiveness leads to the horror, the horr…ugh.

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