The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft Summary and Characters of The Story

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What is the summary of the story The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft? Information about the characters and the summary of The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft.

The Thing on the Doorstep

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The Thing on the Doorstep

“The Thing on the Doorstep” is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, first published in 1937. The story is set in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, and centers around the narrator, a man named Daniel Upton, who tells the story of his friend, Edward Derby. Upton narrates how Derby’s personality changed dramatically after his marriage to a woman named Asenath Waite, and how he eventually became a host to an ancient, malevolent being.

The theme of the story is the horror of possession and the dangers of delving too deeply into the occult. Upton tells the story of how Derby became increasingly interested in the occult and began experimenting with forbidden practices, eventually leading to his possession by an ancient, malevolent being. The story also explores the theme of the fragility of the human mind and how it can be manipulated and controlled by outside forces.

The story also explores the theme of the dangers of playing with forces that are beyond human understanding and control, as Derby’s curiosity and obsession with the occult leads to his eventual downfall. The story also explores the theme of the consequences of one’s actions and how they can lead to tragedy.

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“The Thing on the Doorstep” is considered one of Lovecraft’s most famous and influential stories, and is known for its exploration of the occult and possession, as well as its disturbing and unsettling atmosphere.

Summary

“The Thing on the Doorstep” is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, first published in 1937. The story is set in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, and centers around the narrator, a man named Daniel Upton, who tells the story of his friend, Edward Derby. Upton recounts how Derby’s personality changed dramatically after his marriage to a woman named Asenath Waite, and how he eventually became a host to an ancient, malevolent being.

Upton met Derby in college and they became close friends. He tells the story of how Derby became increasingly interested in the occult and began experimenting with forbidden practices, eventually leading to his possession by an ancient, malevolent being. Upton describes how Derby’s personality changed after he married Asenath Waite, who was a strange and mysterious woman with an interest in the occult. Derby becomes increasingly distant and secretive, and Upton begins to suspect that something is not right with his friend.

As the story progresses, Upton learns that Asenath is actually a powerful sorceress who has used her knowledge of the occult to transfer her own consciousness into Derby’s body, while trapping his mind in her own body. She did this to escape her own aged and weak physical form, and continue her studies and practices in the occult.

Upton becomes increasingly alarmed by Derby’s strange behavior and eventually confronts Asenath, but she reveals that she has already transferred her consciousness into Derby’s body and trapped his mind in her own body.

Upton that Derby’s body is now host to an ancient, malevolent being known as the “Elder Thing” and that it plans to use his body as a vessel to return to the world. Upton is horrified by this revelation and realizes that his friend is now lost forever. He also learns that Asenath had been planning this for a long time and had used her knowledge of the occult to manipulate Derby into marrying her and becoming her host.

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Asenath tells Upton that the “Elder Thing” has been trapped for centuries and that it has been waiting for a host to return to the world. Asenath also tells Upton that the “Elder Thing” plans to use Derby’s body to gain power and control over the world, and that there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

Upton, unable to accept this, kills Asenath’s human body, believing that it will stop the “Elder Thing” from using Derby’s body as a host, but ultimately fails as the being has already taken control of Derby’s body. The story ends with Upton being arrested for Asenath’s murder and being committed to an asylum, where he spends the rest of his days haunted by the memory of his friend and the knowledge of the horror that he unleashed.

The story is a horror story that explores the horror of possession, the dangers of delving too deeply into the occult, the fragility of the human mind and how it can be manipulated and controlled by outside forces, the consequences of one’s actions, and the dangers of playing with forces that are beyond human understanding and control. It is known for its disturbing and unsettling atmosphere and its exploration of the occult and possession.

Characters

The main characters in “The Thing on the Doorstep” are:

  • Daniel Upton: The narrator of the story, a close friend of Edward Derby.
  • Edward Derby: Upton’s friend whose personality changes dramatically after his marriage to Asenath Waite, and who eventually becomes a host to an ancient, malevolent being.
  • Asenath Waite: Edward Derby’s wife, a strange and mysterious woman with an interest in the occult, who uses her knowledge to transfer her own consciousness into Derby’s body, trapping his mind in her own body.
  • “The Elder Thing”: An ancient, malevolent being that Asenath Waite has been in contact with, that takes control of Derby’s body to return to the world and gain power and control over it.

All the characters in the story are secondary to the main theme of the story, which is the horror of possession and the dangers of delving too deeply into the occult. The main character, Daniel Upton is developed to illustrate the impact of Asenath’s actions on those around her and the horror of discovering the truth. Edward Derby serves as a representation of the victim of possession, and Asenath Waite is the driving force behind the story, her actions lead to the possession and tragedy. The “Elder Thing” represents the unknown and forbidden power that can corrupt and control the human mind.

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