History Literature / TheRedTree2009

24th Jun '17 5:48:01 PM FungusFromYuggoth
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* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Played to full, terrifying effect. Since the book is so replete with MindScrew (see below), there are more or less three possible explanations for the events of the book. None of them can be said to clearly be the actual explanation, and based on the facts we learn (and keep in mind that Sarah is an UnreliableNarrator, by her own admission), all of them are more or less equally plausible.
** Magic ("overt" variety): The literal intepretation. [[spoiler: The tree is indeed an EldritchAbomination and the events of the novel occured in-universe just as described - Constance was there, the "lost picnic", basement exploration, sacrifice episode and all the interactions between the two women happened. Constance either left or was taken by the tree, and the tree is responsible for Sarah's hallucination of an empty, disused attic at the very end. Up to that point, Sarah perceives the actual, objective reality, albeit one that is influenced by supernatural events.]] More or less consistent with events as they are mentioned by Sarah.
** Magic ("subtle" variety): [[spoiler: Constance never was there to begin with, and thus, about two thirds of the plot, and the ''overt'' supernatural events, occured in Sarah's mind - hallucinations caused by madness, due to exposure to the tree, which is still an EldritchAbomination and just as malign as Sarah makes it out to be. The nature of the tree would be the same, but instead of that last scene being hallucinatory, everything else ''but'' that scene was. Sarah's insanity is clearly much more severe in this case, whereas the tree "only" affects her mind, not physical reality.]] Again, this explanation would be equally consistent with the mentioned events, and with the effect the tree seems to have on people judging by Harvey's manuscript.
** Mundane: Probably the most terrifying one: [[spoiler: the tree might just be that: only a tree, just the way Sarah perceived it while visiting it alone for the very first time before Constance's arrival. It's precisely the ''manuscript'', written by a clearly insane Harvey, that lodges itself in Sarah's just as clearly unstable mind, while she's still coping with Amanda's death, and triggers a severe bout of hallucinations and paranoia. No supernatural causes whatsoever, just a result of reading the wrong kind of book at the wrong time while being in an unstable state of mind, coupled with an overactive imagination.]] That last explanation may seem less probable at first, however [[spoiler: there are several (easily overlooked) hints at various points of the novel that the actual, physical events connected to the tree, such as the deaths of several people, have not been reported widely, outside the sources that Harvey describes - which Sarah is in no position to check thoroughly. It is quite possible that all of the folktales about the tree and the grisly events connected to it were ''invented'' by Harvey and occur only in his book.]]
24th Jun '17 4:39:39 PM FungusFromYuggoth
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* WhamLine: The [[spoiler: very last journal entry by Sarah, being the last three or so]] pages, in their entirety. Hell, the entire [[spoiler: ninth, final]] chapter is a WhamEpisode, but especially those last pages.
20th Mar '16 2:56:17 AM Morgenthaler
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* BechdelTest: Passes with flying colors.
30th Sep '15 1:03:52 PM Morgenthaler
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-->I seem to have been afflicted with some unprecedented calm, something that settled over me while I was upstairs and which shows no signs of abating. Again, I know we're running counter to the received wisdom, in which our heroine, having glimpsed some unspeakable atrocity, parts ways with her sanity (at least for a time) and runs screaming into the night. Perhaps it's only that those sorts of books and movies are, too often, made by people who have never, themselves, stood at this threshold. Even Catherine ran screaming, that sunstroke day at ''[[SuddenlyLastSummer Cabeza de Lobo]]''. Couldn't I at least be as weak as poor Catherine?

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-->I seem to have been afflicted with some unprecedented calm, something that settled over me while I was upstairs and which shows no signs of abating. Again, I know we're running counter to the received wisdom, in which our heroine, having glimpsed some unspeakable atrocity, parts ways with her sanity (at least for a time) and runs screaming into the night. Perhaps it's only that those sorts of books and movies are, too often, made by people who have never, themselves, stood at this threshold. Even Catherine ran screaming, that sunstroke day at ''[[SuddenlyLastSummer ''[[Theatre/SuddenlyLastSummer Cabeza de Lobo]]''. Couldn't I at least be as weak as poor Catherine?
19th Aug '15 9:42:52 AM TrustBen
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* WriteWhoYouKnow: Sara is a lesbian author in her forties, much like the author.
19th Dec '14 3:23:02 PM efay
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* NightmareFetishist: Amanda made custom artwork on commission from such people. Her specialty can best be described as "photographing what cannot be photographed."
19th Dec '14 3:09:51 PM efay
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* MindScrew

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* MindScrewMindScrew: It's really impossible to tell what's real and what isn't.



* PsychologicalHorror: Sara's mental state plays a huge role in the novel, especially since it leads both the reader and herself to doubt her perceptions.

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* PsychologicalHorror: Sara's increasingly unstable mental state plays a huge role in the novel, especially since it leads both the reader and herself to doubt her perceptions.novel.
19th Dec '14 3:07:48 PM efay
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* EldritchAbomination: Sara becomes convinced the titular tree is actually some kind of primordial evil that's taken the form of an oak. See below.

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* EldritchAbomination: Sara becomes convinced Sara's perception of the titular tree is actually some kind seems heavily influenced by her knowledge of primordial evil that's taken the form of Lovecraft and [[Creator/ArthurMachen Machen]] (particularly ''Literature/TheGreatGodPan'', which also features an oak. See below.abomination taking earthly form).



%%* HauntedHeadquarters



%%* PsychologicalHorror

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%%* PsychologicalHorror* PsychologicalHorror: Sara's mental state plays a huge role in the novel, especially since it leads both the reader and herself to doubt her perceptions.



* UltimateEvil: The tree, according to Sara:
-->. . . [The tree] seemed, in that moment, to have sloughed off whatever guise or glamour usually permitted it to pass for only a very old, very large oak. Suddenly, I felt, with sickening conviction, I was gazing through or around a mask, that I was being allowed to do so that I might at last be made privy to this grand charade. I saw wickedness. I could not then, and cannot now, think of any better word. I saw wickedness dressed up like a tree, and I had very little doubt that it saw me, as well. . . And I knew, if I did not look away, and look away quickly, that what I saw would sear me, and I'd never find my way back to the house.
* UnreliableNarrator: Lampshaded. Sara notes in her entries that she's basically paraphrasing all of the dialogue she writes down from memory, which she admits isn't all that great (not to mention the fact that she ''might'' be going insane). She's also shown to be very familiar with the works of Creator/HPLovecraft, Creator/ArthurMachen, and related authors, and not to mention some of the dark folklore surrounding New England. She even drops the name of the trope:

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* UltimateEvil: The tree, according to Sara:
-->. . . [The tree] seemed, in that moment, to have sloughed off whatever guise or glamour usually permitted it to pass
Sara becomes convinced the tree is merely a mask for only a very old, very large oak. Suddenly, I felt, with sickening conviction, I was gazing through or around a mask, that I was being allowed to do so that I might at last be made privy to this grand charade. I saw wickedness. I could not then, and cannot now, think some primordial, malignant entity capable of any better word. I saw wickedness dressed up like a tree, and I had very little doubt that it saw me, as well. . . And I knew, if I did not look away, and look away quickly, that what I saw would sear me, and I'd never find my way back to the house.
searing her mind.
* UnreliableNarrator: Lampshaded. Sara notes in her entries that she's basically paraphrasing all of the dialogue she writes down from memory, which she admits isn't all that great (not to mention the fact that she ''might'' be going insane). She's also shown to be very familiar with the works of Creator/HPLovecraft, Creator/ArthurMachen, Lovecraft and related authors, and not to mention some of the dark folklore surrounding New England. She even drops the name of the trope:
19th Dec '14 2:03:49 PM efay
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* EldritchAbomination: Sara becomes convinced the titular tree is actually some kind of primordial evil that's taken the form of an oak.

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* EldritchAbomination: Sara becomes convinced the titular tree is actually some kind of primordial evil that's taken the form of an oak. See below.


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* UltimateEvil: The tree, according to Sara:
-->. . . [The tree] seemed, in that moment, to have sloughed off whatever guise or glamour usually permitted it to pass for only a very old, very large oak. Suddenly, I felt, with sickening conviction, I was gazing through or around a mask, that I was being allowed to do so that I might at last be made privy to this grand charade. I saw wickedness. I could not then, and cannot now, think of any better word. I saw wickedness dressed up like a tree, and I had very little doubt that it saw me, as well. . . And I knew, if I did not look away, and look away quickly, that what I saw would sear me, and I'd never find my way back to the house.
19th Dec '14 12:20:11 PM efay
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* EldritchAbomination: Sara becomes convinced the titular tree is some primordial evil that's taken the form of an oak.

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* EldritchAbomination: Sara becomes convinced the titular tree is actually some kind of primordial evil that's taken the form of an oak.
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