This is topic Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory in forum Discussions About Orson Scott Card at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
This is hands down the most disturbing story I have read by Mr. Card.

Harts Hope, Lost Boys, and Treasure Box just didnt creep me out as much as this story did.

I remember the first time I read it a few years ago and feeling scared. I would wake up in the middle of the night and was afraid to go into the bathroom because I was afraid to see one of the baby like creatures in there. I was 18 years old at the time, and it seems silly now that I was that afraid, but it really freaked me out.

So to those of you that have read this short story, what did you think of it?
Posted by Flaming Toad on a Stick (Member # 9302) on :
It's cool.
Posted by Survivor (Member # 233) on :
Um...I didn't find it that scary, but it was pretty scary. I thought that the main character was the scary part, though. I think someone claimed to have suffered a psychotic break as a result of another Card story, but it might just have been reading it during an existing psychotic break, so I'll leave that aside.

I thought that Killing Children was at least equally disturbing to me. Certain obvious thematic similarities could be pointed out, suffice to say that they were both very disturbing.
Posted by Launchywiggin (Member # 9116) on :
I remember being terrified to the point that I couldn't sleep, so I read the rest of the "Tales of Dread" in Maps in a Mirror.

And to this day, I can't imagine a better image of "guilt" than the baby creature.
Posted by JLM (Member # 7800) on :
I picked up Maps in a Mirror on a buisiness trip. Eumenides freaked me out so bad I barely got any sleep the night before my meeting.
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
People talk about how disturbing "Kingsmeat" is, but to me, it pales in comparison to "Eumenides".
Posted by TL (Member # 8124) on :
Right. Well, to my mind, Card wrote many disturbing stories (when he was younger). Eumenides and Kingsmeat happen to be two of the best. I suspect that he was viewed (back when he was writing this kind of stuff) as a daring and bold young writer of high literary quality. Probably it's what made his reputation.
Posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong (Member # 2229) on :
I wonder why it's not called the Erynies? Maybe Card deals with this in the short story. In Aeschylus, the Erynies drove criminals to insanity and eventual death, and in the end of the Orestia, when the Erynies turned into Eumenides, they agreed to play nice and abide by the rule of law and democracy.

[ February 07, 2007, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
but it might just have been reading it during an existing psychotic break, so I'll leave that aside.

I had a list of books I held responsible for my state of mind (when I thought it was a good thing.) I don't think there were any works by Card on that list, though. Oh, wait, I guess there was a strange plethora of Alvin Maker books at the base library. And I started to read Wyrms but my husband said it was too disturbing for him.

But yeah, when I was in the height of "I see the world as it really is" I thought people could obtain the same enlightenment by reading in correct order War and Peace, How Green was my Valley, The Mormon Murders, Lady Chatterly's Lover & The Marilyn Scandal. I think that's about it. A balanced mental diet for the millenial Cassandra.

It is really a darned shame that when I started to get well I threw away that journal. I was probably having seeds of psychosis when I started keeping the second journal, and when time started to slow down again, I decided it was my writings while possessed and that discarding it would liberate me.
Posted by Survivor (Member # 233) on :
I wish I had something like that. Either the list of books that would "enlighten" anyone that read them in the right order or a journal full of psychotic writing.
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
Yeah, I probably left out that we read two pages out of the Book of Mormon each night while I was going through the rest of those books. And being surrounded by Greek-speaking people was probably key. I did have a theory on the importance of Armed Forces Network Public Service Announcements to maintaining a psychological milieau for dependents living abroad.
Posted by Uindy (Member # 9743) on :
That story freaked me out but considering that I read it when I was 17 it makes since that it would.
Posted by Flaming Toad on a Stick (Member # 9302) on :
I read the story when I was 15. I liked it. It didn't creep me out that much, actually it was one of my favourites. Everything just fit so well. Kingsmeat was also one of the best.
Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
Maybe what scared me was the amount of detail in the story.

Killing the baby like creatures was enough, but describing how he got rid of it and the body was disturbing too. Finding out that this man was under so much guilt explained some of it, but after finding out what he was guilty for made me sick.

Once I re-read the story it made a lot more sense to me.

I remember when I first read the story I took the book to school and let some of my friends read it during my English class. After reading it we were talking about it when our English teacher caught us and told us to go up to the front of the class and share with the rest of the class what we were talking about.

Boy was she in for a suprise! We got up there talking about baby creatures getting flushed down toilets, and she ran up there (Quick for a 60+ year old woman!) Smack us all on the back of the head and told us to sit down.

Man I miss my 12th grade English teacher. Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory wasnt ok to talk about, but were allowed to read "A Modest Proposal" and make baby jokes all day.
Posted by Survivor (Member # 233) on :
The part describing killing the little monsters wasn't freaky at all, to me. By that point we already understood that it wasn't just a deformed baby, it was a horrible creature from hell or nearest theological equivalent.

It was the character himself, not the particulars of what he'd done, that really disturbed me. His whistle while he works attitude about it was what really got me. Of course the wife was a pretty amazing piece of work too, letting him come home like that. Yikes!
Posted by Mazer (Member # 192) on :
It is the most disturbing of his work, for me.

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