In Bierce’s “One of the Missing”, the protagonist, Jerome Searing, is expose to fear when he is trap under a building that has collapse on him. His evolution, from perfectly sane to completely crazy, is clearly visible.
As mentioned by Bierce, Searing, before the building collapses, is “an incomparable marksman, young, hardy, intelligent and insensible to fear” (1). This statement from Bierce explains the situation and the conditions in which the protagonist lives. As a scout in the army, Searing is the soldier who has the most freedom. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants; his only concern is not to get kill. He has always been in control of his destiny, and he has forever been deciding what he has to do.
Once the building has collapses on him, Searing’s freedom is all taken away from him. This sudden change in his conditions completely transforms his way of seeing things, as he passed from a completely free man to a still person who cannot “move more than six inches at the elbow” (Bierce 4). Even in this situation, Searing is still optimist, because his reason, which comes from the brain, still prevails on his emotions, which come from the heart. As Bierce mentions, “[Se...
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...er so that his fear could leave his mind and let his reason prevail. However, Madeline comes back, just as Usher’s emotions, and it causes Usher’s dead; too much madness was on his mind.
As described above, Poe and Bierce expose their characters Roderick Usher and Jerome Searing to fear. Both of them evolve in a different manner as they were exposed to it. Searing, at the beginning, as a free and fearless man, but as he is exposed to stillness, he becomes so insane that he tries to commit suicide. Usher, on his side, is, at the beginning, on a balance between sanity and madness. As the story goes on, he tries to get rid of the fear he is exposed to so that he becomes saner. Instead, the opposite happens and he becomes completely insane, as his emotions prevail on his reason. So, it can be said that both authors experiment the impacts of fear in their stories.
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