Thomas Tryon The Other Analysis

Decent Essays

Thomas Tryon’s debut novel, The Other, tells a tale of harrowing macabre and psychosis that haunts a New England family. The Other follows the life of a set of young twin boys and the horror that follows. In The Other, Thomas Tryon crafts a story of delusion and insanity, one that preys on the readers’ fear because of the story’s normalcy and familiarity. Thomas Tryon was born on January 14, 1926 in Hartford, Connecticut and is the son of Arthur Tryon, one of the owners of Stackpole, Moore and Tryon- a distinguished in Hartford during the 1920s (He enlisted in the U.S. Navy when seventeen and served during World War II. After being discharged in 1946, he attended Yale University with a major in art. After graduating, he joined a theater …show more content…

Dan Chaon describes the novel as “Legerdemain- a novel that is never quite as it seems, a novel that fools the reader repeatedly with its chimeric form, its elusive shifts and turns”- a tale that seems to be fairly traditional, yet introduces numerous plot twists (254). The Other follows Niles and Holland Perry (a set of identical twins) through a summer during the 1930s. Holland Perry is described as “secretive, brooding. Of a dark nature” (Tryon, 14). Niles is the exact opposite. In the description of the two boys, Tryon introduces his concept of the double- a darker, alternative self (Gioia, “The Other”). While other horror books use the recurring concepts of ghosts, vampires, or werewolves, Tryon introduces a different concept by building his novel around the commonplace and familiar and goes against the genre’s norms, which leaves his mark on the horror genre and influences later authors (Gioia, “The Other”). Tryon goes against genre tradition by introducing a complex, tightly controlled narration with an unreliable narrator (Frisbie, “The Other”). The novel is told from two perspectives: the first is an unidentified speaker who only appears at the beginning of each part; the second is a limited third person narrator (Chaon, Afterword). The first narrator is a 48-year-old inmate at the asylum who Tryon forces us to guess the identity …show more content…

I was having nightmares and I couldn’t sleep. I got very tight at various points in the book” (Daniels, “The Other- Chilling First Effort”. The novel delivers its fair share of macabre and horror, certainly enough to evoke the same feelings in the reader that Tryon described himself having. As scenes of domestic life unfurl, Tryon introduces mystery after mystery about the horrendous actions Holland Perry (Moore, “At the End, the Baby Disappears”). Holland is seemingly introduced as the psychopath in the story- “the other”. Dan Chaon describes the central question throughout the novel: “What is Holland” (254). In the conclusion of the second part- and climax- of the novel, we find the answer to this question- Holland is dead, and has been for quite some time. Through this shocking twist, the story is revealed to be about the Nile’s madness and self-delusion (Chaon, Afterword). Famous novelist Peter Straub once said that “Horror is the genre of literature most closely concerned with loss: our fear of it, its approach, its inevitable triumph” (Chaon, Afterword). This is the case with The Other- it has grand horrors of death and insanity, and then little horrors concerning the loss of everyday life around the town (Chaon, Afterword). In the last chapter, Tryon writes, “He was gone, I could no longer conjure him up as he had me”, effectively revealing the loss and subsequent insanity of

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