The Outsider is a horror short story written by H. P. Lovecraft. He finished writing it in 1921, but it wasn't published until April 1926 in Weird Tales. Lovecraft explained that this story was inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The story is in the public domain.
In the story, a person has been living alone in a run-down castle for as long as he can remember. The absence of windows and enormous trees towering above the castle prevents the sun from ever entering the castle, but the man longs to see it again. He eventually works up the courage to climb a crumbling tower in hopes of getting beyond the shadow of the trees. At the top of the tower, he opens a trap door and, instead looking down upon the trees, he is shocked to see flat ground all around him. He had been living in a massive underground cavern all this time! He then works up the courage to explore this new world, but, before he can meet anyone new, he encounters a horrifying monster.
This story was included in an anthology of American short fiction. As it was one of authors I recognized, and I wanted to read some of Lovecraft's work, I skipped to this story. This was the very first Lovecraft story I read, and I found it pretty decent.
— This section contains spoilers! —
- Lovecraft uses extensive vocabulary.
- I like how the story ends. The man attempt to return to the castle through the trap door, but finds it sealed fast, and discovers that he prefers living above ground, even if he is an outsider. This adds some eeriness because he is no longer sequestered to a forgotten prison, but is lurking in the shadows.
- Even at the time, the "twist" wasn't original, and I had predicted it the moment the monster was first seen.
|Strong female character?
|Women are only briefly mentioned.
|There isn't any dialogue.
|Strong person of color character?
|No specific ethnicity is ever described.
|There are no queer characters.