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The Witching Hour

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The Witching Hour Essay, Research Paper

The Witching Hour

Title: The Witching Hour Author: Anne Rice Copyright Date: 1990 Number

of Page Read: 1043

Three main elements classify the genre: Gothic, Mystery, and Romance. I

classify Gothic novels as stories pertaining to a dismal atmosphere, such as

Edgar Allan Poe’s literature. .

Lovers who unlock thirteen generation’s of Mayfair family secrets and incest;

discovering that their intervention becomes a more complex-intertwining destiny.

Our Antagonist Michael Curry, a 48-year old Irish man who had lost himself in

a world in which he had accomplished his dreams, experienced his emotional pain,

and yet he felt empty. Michael approached the rocks of the bay, thought of his

life and emptiness, then he slipped and fell to his fatal doom in the sea.

Found by a woman known as Rowan Mayfair , he discovered that he was dead for

over an hour as he rested in the hospital. Michael also discovered that he had

received the gift of seeing images by using his hands to touch objects, and

that he chose to come back. He was burdened by the images and the vision after

his death, that he had a purpose, that he was sent for a reason. Something that

had to do with a doorway, and the number thirteen.

After isolation from the press of the burden of his powers, he found himself

wanting to go back on the deck of the boat where he was rescued. He wanted to

talk to the woman who rescued him, for he thought that she would let him touch

the boat to recover images that night. He discovered that this neurosurgeon, Dr.

Rowan Mayfair, was the veritable love of his life. After he discovered how much

he deeply loved Rowan, he began to reminisce the images of his purpose; that

certain elements and images of his childhood hinted him to return to the house

he had been fascinated with in New Orleans as a child. Another major character

of the story, Englishmen Aaron Lightner, was a part of an archaic organization

known as the “Talamasca”. Aaron studied a family called the Mayfairs in New

Orleans, because his organization had believed the Mayfairs to be witches. He

devoted his life to the history of the Mayfair witches, and his organization had

compiled a history of the Mayfairs since the days of the 17th century

inquisition in Europe. As he watched Michael and Rowan from the corners of

darkness, he intervened their lives to enlighten their knowledge of Rowan’s

family history?and its dangerous potential. Rowan did not know a single thing

of her family history, as she was left in the dark her whole life by her aunt

Ellie who became her legal guardian the day she was born.. After her

notification from a family member that her mother died, this gave her permission

to learn her family history and go to New Orleans where her family resided to

mourn her catatonic mother’s death. This also gave her signs of coincidence

with Michael’s life and hers. Rowan then learned of her family’s meaning and

history, and her life started to make more sense as she got involved. Her

passion to heal the wounded, her sixth sense to stop the wounds of the sick,

and her dangerous potential to kill without knowing it?or does she?

These three main characters learn of the history, the scandals, the incest,

the beauty, and the apparition. The apparition is the Protagonist of the story,

and goes by the name of “Lasher”. Lasher destroys everything that was

established between Michael and Rowan, and he is a character that seduces the

Mayfair’s into his need to be human. He had been with the Mayfairs for thirteen

generations, and was summoned by an ancestor of Rowan’s named Suzanne. Lasher,

an ignorant being who learned over the generations of human nature to educate

himself in this new realm. He eventually enlightened Rowan of his past, his

intentions and his knowledge, for she had the gift to see him after his mother’s

death. But she was warned of this being by Aaron’s knowledge, her new-found

immensely grown family, and Michael, who studied with the Talamasca when Aaron

came into his life. The being is seductive, and after letting Lasher come

between Michael and her, Lasher destroys their child, and spawns himself into

this fetal organism to be human based on his new knowledge fed to him by our

times. Rowan was the door, the thirteenth witch. It’s complex, as I’ll explain

below. The outcome, was that Rowan was not as powerful as she thought, for she

lost the two things she loved the most, by the evil contrived intentions of

this being and her weakness.

There are many elements that I’ve interpreted from the book. I would like to

quote the antagonist Michael Curry’s interpretations, as his interpretation is

one of the pieces: (p. 1037)

“…for ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions

and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are. If any

revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and out best

philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and invisible, and it

couldn’t fall short on us.”.

What this story really is, is the power of creation, the power of knowledge,

understanding the barrier between the most abstract ideas and science. Perhaps

there is a thin barrier between the abstract mythology and science. Lasher, a

ghost, one would assume that this book would deal with archaic atheism, good

and evil. But it’s not focused on that, the focus is the sign of our times

today. Lasher was a being, a representation of the force of ignorance. Lasher

learned and picked up the knowledge of what the Mayfair witches knew and

experienced throughout the 300 years of its existence. But as you know the 20th

century has created miracles, things that were unimaginable 100 years ago.

Lasher was a being whose existence seemed to interact with humans upon the

summoning of Suzanne Mayfair. Hence, his knowledge began with the ignorance of

science, and it was a time of atheistic beliefs dominating civilization. He knew

nothing, of how he was created, why he was there, and was ignorant of

communication. But as the time of the Catholic power died, and the

Enlightenment came, Lasher began to see things changing, progressing into an

enlightenment and the possibility that he may become flesh and learn of himself.

The 20th century, things imaginable centuries ago would be seen as magical,

just as how we see mythology and atheism as magical?it’s unexplained. This book

is about the very thin line between the abstract and science, that science is

the true reliance.

As a prime example to think about, examine this; it was established this

century that human cloning was impossible, but yet we have found ourselves that

this theory has been defeated. Human cloning is as possible as any other

scientific discovery, and it shows you that any day, something new can be

discovered, something that possesses the ability to defy archaic magic and

belief of gods, and other undiscovered territories. What if one day, you woke

up and heard on the radio that the energy of souls had been discovered as tiny

particles smaller than quirks that were linked together with incredible

scientific explanations? That scientific and computational technology allows us

to answer age-old questions. Indeed, it was no coincidence that Lasher chose

Rowan’s destiny to become a neurosurgeon. This book is certainly about the thin

barrier between the archaic age-old questions and science. Because of human

being’s ability to create, maybe we can finally identify ourselves as the gods.

Think about it. I would like to quote Lasher’s words, he talks of this

interpretation of mine briefly: (p. 934)

“Why couldn’t anyone do it before me? Julien was powerful.”

“Knowledge Rowan. Julien was born to soon?that is the key; that is what

enables you to be the doorway. The knowledge of your era was unimaginable even

to Julien, who saw in his time inventions that seemed purely magical. Could

Julien have foreseen a heart opened on an operating table? A child conceived

in a test tube? No. And there will come after you those whose knowledge is

great enough even to define what I am.”

This book is a fantastic read, the story of each generation from 1689-1989

kept me up until six in the morning often. The characters are beautifully

crafted by Anne Rice, yet the story and plot were sometimes set aside because

of the vivid development of each individual character throughout the book. I’ve

already read several novels from this author, and this novel earned it’s

position with a high mark. It’s intuitive, mysterious, logical, and

enlightening. But the sad ending of Rowan’s strength depleting from her loss

from this “evil” Lasher, causes the book to develop into its next novel


Anne Rice gives the reader the ability to see the world through different

eyes, besides, are philosophical beliefs revolve around perception and

perspective. I wish to continue this saga with “Lasher”, although I am going to

take a brake from Rice, and I’m in the process of choosing between “Exit to

Eden” (John Steinbeck) and something from Edgar Allan Poe.

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