Follow TV Tropes

Following

History Literature / TheRedTree2009

Go To



* UltimateEvil: Sarah becomes convinced the tree is merely a mask for some primordial, malignant entity capable of searing her mind.

to:

* UltimateEvil: UnseenEvil: Sarah becomes convinced the tree is merely a mask for some primordial, malignant entity capable of searing her mind.


* TheLostWoods: Shortly after Constance moves in with Sarah, she asks if she can come with Sarah the next time she goes to check out the tree. [[spoiler:Half an hour into their little field trip, they realize that the tree supposedly only seventy-five yards away from the house doesn't seem to be getting any closer, and that they've passed that same small deadfall once before on this trip...]]


* UnreliableNarrator: Lampshaded. Sarah 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 Lovecraft and related authors, and not to mention some of the dark folklore surrounding New England. She even drops the name of the trope:

to:

* UnreliableNarrator: Lampshaded. Sarah 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).insane) and almost every time she writes down her dreams, she freely admits that she doesn't really remember them that well and is reflexively embellishing to the point she annoys herself. She's also shown to be very familiar with the works of Lovecraft and related authors, and not to mention some of the dark folklore surrounding New England. She even drops the name of the trope:



* TheVerse: The last chapter, an excerpt from one of Sarah's stories, mentions an artist named Albert Perrault who may or may not have deliberately crashed his motorcycle. Perrault's artwork is important to the plot of Kiernan's later book ''The Drowning Girl''. Kiernan's short story "Houses Under the Sea" is set in the same universe. Additionally, all three include [[spoiler: the EldritchAbomination sea goddess, Mother Hydra, to varying degrees.]]

to:

* TheVerse: The last chapter, an excerpt from one of Sarah's stories, mentions an artist named Albert Perrault who may or may not have deliberately crashed his motorcycle. Perrault's artwork is important to the plot of Kiernan's later book ''The Drowning Girl''. Kiernan's short story "Houses Under the Sea" is set in the same universe. Additionally, all three include [[spoiler: the EldritchAbomination sea goddess, Mother Hydra, to varying degrees.degrees--Sarah's creepy dreams mention her, or at least Sarah ''writes'' they do.]]

Added DiffLines:

* TheVerse: The last chapter, an excerpt from one of Sarah's stories, mentions an artist named Albert Perrault who may or may not have deliberately crashed his motorcycle. Perrault's artwork is important to the plot of Kiernan's later book ''The Drowning Girl''. Kiernan's short story "Houses Under the Sea" is set in the same universe. Additionally, all three include [[spoiler: the EldritchAbomination sea goddess, Mother Hydra, to varying degrees.]]


* FramingDevice: The book opens with a preface by Sarah's former editor, Sharon, who was mailed everything Sarah typed in the cottage, and chose to publish it. This is one of the only ways to know for sure what things really happened (the cottage is real, the tree is real, Constance is real but won't provide comment).



* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The framing device is that Sarah's former editor, Sharon, was mailed everything Sarah typed in the cottage, and chose to publish it. Sharon's preface is one of the only ways to know what things really happened (the cottage is real, the tree is real, Constance is real but won't provide comment).


* ApocalypticLog: Both Sara's journal and the unfinished book she discovers.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: The cellar below the farmhouse turns out to have some very unusual spacial properties.

to:

* ApocalypticLog: Both Sara's Sarah's journal and the unfinished book she discovers.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: The cellar below the farmhouse turns out to have some very unusual spacial properties. First, it's a natural cavern that's much too big to plausibly support itself, ''then'' it's a much smaller granite tunnel that was clearly dug.



* DrivenToSuicide: Sara, Amanda, and Harvey
* EldritchAbomination: Sara's perception of the tree seems heavily influenced by her knowledge of Lovecraft and [[Creator/ArthurMachen Machen]] (particularly ''Literature/TheGreatGodPan'', which also features an abomination taking earthly form).
* FirstPersonSmartass: Sara
* ForegoneConclusion: The editor's note in the beginning tells you that Sara committed suicide and this is her journal.
* GoneMadFromTheRevelation: Sara lampshades this trope towards the end.

to:

* DrivenToSuicide: Sara, Sarah, Amanda, and Harvey
* EldritchAbomination: Sara's Sarah's perception of the tree seems heavily influenced by her knowledge of Lovecraft and [[Creator/ArthurMachen Machen]] (particularly ''Literature/TheGreatGodPan'', which also features an abomination taking earthly form).
* FirstPersonSmartass: Sara
Sarah
* ForegoneConclusion: The editor's note in the beginning tells you that Sara Sarah committed suicide and this is her journal.
* GoneMadFromTheRevelation: Sara Sarah lampshades this trope towards the end.



* HairRaisingHare: One morning, Sara finds a neon green fishing line tied from the back porch of the house to the red tree. When she reaches the end of it, she finds a rabbit killed and systematically mutilated at the tree's "altar."

to:

* HairRaisingHare: One morning, Sara Sarah finds a neon green fishing line tied from the back porch of the house to the red tree. When she reaches the end of it, she finds a rabbit killed and systematically mutilated at the tree's "altar."



* TheLostLenore: Sara's late girlfriend, Amanda Tyrell, who committed suicide shortly after a really nasty fight between the two.
* TheLostWoods: Shortly after Constance moves in with Sara, she asks if she can come with Sara the next time she goes to check out the tree. [[spoiler:Half an hour into their little field trip, they realize that the tree supposedly only seventy-five yards away from the house doesn't seem to be getting any closer, and that they've passed that same small deadfall once before on this trip...]]

to:

* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The framing device is that Sarah's former editor, Sharon, was mailed everything Sarah typed in the cottage, and chose to publish it. Sharon's preface is one of the only ways to know what things really happened (the cottage is real, the tree is real, Constance is real but won't provide comment).
* TheLostLenore: Sara's Sarah's late girlfriend, Amanda Tyrell, who committed suicide shortly after a really nasty fight between the two.
* TheLostWoods: Shortly after Constance moves in with Sara, Sarah, she asks if she can come with Sara Sarah the next time she goes to check out the tree. [[spoiler:Half an hour into their little field trip, they realize that the tree supposedly only seventy-five yards away from the house doesn't seem to be getting any closer, and that they've passed that same small deadfall once before on this trip...]]



* MasochismTango: Sara remarks that her relationship with Amanda was toxic and screwed up right from the start. (The very first thing Amanda did upon meeting Sara was tell her how much she thought her books sucked.)

to:

* MasochismTango: Sara Sarah remarks that her relationship with Amanda was toxic and screwed up right from the start. (The very first thing Amanda did upon meeting Sara Sarah was tell her how much she thought her books sucked.)



** 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.

to:

** 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 occurred 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.



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

to:

* MindScrew: It's really impossible to tell what's real and what isn't. Only things mentioned in the prologue, which is a foreword written by Sarah's editor, can be nailed down as true, and there aren't very many of those.



* OurGhostsAreDifferent: DiscussedTrope, neither Sara or Constance believe in an afterlife or the supernatural. Still they speculate on the existence and nature of ghosts, settling on [[DoingInTheWizard glitches in space-time.]]
* PerpetualPoverty: Sara is living off of a dwindling, irregular paycheck, which is why she doesn't move out immediately when weird shit starts happening -- she literally can't afford to.
* PosthumousCharacter: Amanda Tyrell
* PsychologicalHorror: Sara's increasingly unstable mental state plays a huge role in the novel.
* SanitySlippage: Sara and Constance, [[spoiler:if Constance ever existed in the first place]].
* SpookyPainting: Amanda made really screwed up photoshop montages for a living. [[spoiler:When Sara goes up to the attic shortly after Constance leaves, she discovers seven blank canvases with tiny notes attached to each of them. After she reads them all, she looks back at the canvases to find they've been replaced with Francis Bacon-inspired paintings of contorted, mutilated women]].

to:

* OurGhostsAreDifferent: DiscussedTrope, neither Sara Sarah or Constance believe in an afterlife or the supernatural. Still they speculate on the existence and nature of ghosts, settling on [[DoingInTheWizard glitches in space-time.]]
* PaintingTheMedium: When she's trying to describe what happened in the cellar, Sarah starts making typo after typo (using "you're" when she means "your", etc) and then the entry ends with "coulll", the lead-up to her having a seizure in the middle of typing
* PerpetualPoverty: Sara Sarah is living off of a dwindling, irregular paycheck, which is why she doesn't move out immediately when weird shit starts happening -- she literally can't afford to.
* PosthumousCharacter: Amanda Tyrell
Tyrell, Sarah's artist girlfriend who died by suicide.
* PsychologicalHorror: Sara's Sarah's increasingly unstable mental state plays a huge role in the novel.
* SanitySlippage: Sara Sarah and Constance, [[spoiler:if Constance was ever existed there in the first place]].
* SpookyPainting: Amanda made really screwed up photoshop montages for a living. [[spoiler:When Sara Sarah goes up to the attic shortly after Constance leaves, she discovers seven blank canvases with tiny notes attached to each of them. After she reads them all, she looks back at the canvases to find they've been replaced with Francis Bacon-inspired paintings of contorted, mutilated women]].



* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: As Sara's journal entries progress, it becomes less and less clear if all the weird goings on are actually happening, or just in her and Constance's head. [[spoiler:In the final entries, Sara says that she's read the previous entries and doesn't recall even half of the events actually ever happening. She also notes that she checked the attic after Constance disappeared, only to find the place just as dusty and unused as it was before she moved in]].
* UltimateEvil: Sara becomes convinced the tree is merely a mask for some primordial, malignant entity capable of 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 Lovecraft and related authors, and not to mention some of the dark folklore surrounding New England. She even drops the name of the trope:

to:

* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: As Sara's Sarah's journal entries progress, it becomes less and less clear if all the weird goings on are actually happening, or just in her and Constance's head. [[spoiler:In the final entries, Sara Sarah says that she's read the previous entries and doesn't recall even half of the events actually ever happening. She also notes that she checked the attic after Constance disappeared, only to find the place just as dusty and unused as it was before she moved in]].
* UltimateEvil: Sara Sarah becomes convinced the tree is merely a mask for some primordial, malignant entity capable of searing her mind.
* UnreliableNarrator: Lampshaded. Sara Sarah 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 Lovecraft and related authors, and not to mention some of the dark folklore surrounding New England. She even drops the name of the trope:



* WhatBeautifulEyes: Sara is rather fond of Constance's drowsy, red-brown eyes.

to:

* WhatBeautifulEyes: Sara Sarah is rather fond of Constance's drowsy, red-brown eyes.

Added DiffLines:

[[quoteright:315:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_red_tree.jpg]]


%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.

to:

%% ZeroContextExample Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.

Added DiffLines:

* 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.]]

Added DiffLines:

* 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.


* BechdelTest: Passes with flying colors.


-->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?

to:

-->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?


* WriteWhoYouKnow: Sara is a lesbian author in her forties, much like the author.

Added DiffLines:

* NightmareFetishist: Amanda made custom artwork on commission from such people. Her specialty can best be described as "photographing what cannot be photographed."


* MindScrew

to:

* 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.

to:

* 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.

Showing 15 edit(s) of 35

Top