Blind Read Through: H.P. Lovecraft Arthur Jermyn
This was a sad and tragic tale of the Jermyn lineage. We start the story with the knowledge that the titular Arthur commits suicide. This fact weighs on the reader and becomes the driving force behind the mystery of the story.
Throughout these blind reads, I have come to understand that there is a deep mystery in every one of Lovecraft’s stories. Something terrible, otherworldly, or macabre lies at the heart of every story and through it’s telling the reader strives to understand this mystery.
This story is fairly straight forward, in that, we are reading to see what would make someone immolate themselves.
In the end, Arthur finds evidence that his great-great-great-grandfather traveled to the Congo and took a humanoid white ape as a concubine and Arthur is the descendant of this ape.
At the beginning of the story, our narrator tells us that everyone should do what Arthur did to himself if they found the same. Where bestiality is repugnant, there seems to be something more going on here.
The civilization where Wade Jermyn (the ancestor) goes speaks of the White God and the ape-princess, which is obviously Wade and his concubine, but the great civilization was told (to Arthur by Mwanu) to house “hybrid-creatures”.
Could this be a sect of Outer God worshipers? Or is this a culture built on interbreeding with apes, and Wade got caught up in the fervor of their culture?
My predilection is to think of the prior, because as horrible as it is that Arthur finds that he is descended from an ape, he is not a young man, and must know about his own soul. I would think that even if it would lead to suicide (if for no other reason than to end the lineage), it might take a little longer.
The housekeepers heard a horrible scream once Arthur opened the box. We assume as the reader that it must just be the mummified corpse of his great-great-great-grandapema, but at the beginning of the story the narrator tells us that there is an object. It is possible that Lovecraft is being coy and skirting around that it was a mummy, but there is also the peculiar golden locket which I believe holds the key.
When Arthur opens the box, it takes him a while to scream. It is readily apparent by the appearance of the mummy that it is his ancestor, but it takes him a while to scream. I think there must have been something leading to a cosmic horror discovery in the locket. Maybe that there is something far more sinister that just the white ape in his lineage?
What do you think?
Join me on Halloween for a Blind Read of “The Temple”