Monday, June 20, 2011

That Unbodied Figure Of His Thought

We’ve joked in years past that The Figure in the Shadows could be titled The Reader in the Shadows due to the way the story unfolds: we’re witness to a lot of things happening but we have no idea what horrific evil is prompting it.  It’s not until the end that Mrs. Zimmermann finally connects a lot of loose threads together (based on smell, of all things...).  Without giving too much away, a spell is cast over a talisman, a spirit is trapped within this amulet that wants out, and then it is set loose into the world.  Ms. Z tells the story better so - well, Bellairs does, too, so just go read the book and then come back here.

Done?  Good.

Based on Zimmermann's story [Figure; 152] it sounds that when Lewis recited the prayer that then the spirit was unleashed, made itself known, and began to annoy Lewis.

That doesn’t seem to make sense because the ghostly postcard (venio) arrives in chapter two and it’s not until chapter four that Lewis recites the prayer and “awakes and possesses” the spirit.  And even that was done unknowingly.  It’s chapter seven before he sees a vision of the figure coming up the Homer Road and finds the notebook paper on the street (venio).

The only way out of this, I suppose, is to believe that Lewis’s wishes for protection and power were so great that the spirit “heard” his thoughts and led him down a path that would hopefully – for the sake of the spirit – actually awaken and free it.  But if that were the case, I would suspect anyone who held the amulet and wanted “power” might get some sort of signs from the bottled spsirt, too.  I dunno - perhaps it’s not the plot hole I think it is but something in this final explanation seems off.

We've put the question up in our forum for the rest of you to come over and figure in your thoughts on the matter.

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