No Title Essay

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(Mise-en-Scène for a Parricide, London Review of Books, Vol. 3 No. 16 · 3 September 1981) The Fall River Axe Murders by Angela Carter Early in the morning of the fourth of August, 1892. Hot, hot, hot ... very early in the morning, before the factory whistle, but, even at this hour, everything shimmers and 5 quivers under the attack of the white, furious sun already high in the still air. Its inhabitants have never come to terms with these hot, humid summers – for it is the humidity more than the heat that makes them intolerable; the weather clings like a low fever you cannot shake off. The Indians who lived here first had the sense to take off their buckskins when hot weather came and sit up to their necks in ponds; not so the descendants of the industrious, self-mortifying saints who imported the Protestant ethic wholesale into a country intended for the 10 siesta and are proud, proud! of flying in the face of nature. In most latitudes with summers like these, everything slows down, then. You stay all day in penumbra behind drawn blinds and closed shutters; you wear clothes loose enough to make your own breeze to cool yourself when you infrequently move. But the ultimate decade of the last century finds us at the high point of hard work, here; all will soon be bustle, men will go out into the furnace of the morning well wrapped up in flannel underclothes, linen shirts, vests and coats and trousers of sturdy woollen cloth, and they garrotte 15 themselves with neckties, too, they think it is so virtuous to be uncomfortable. And today it is the middle of a heat-wave; so early in the morning and the mercury has touched the middle eighties, already, and shows no sign of slowing down its headlong ascent. As far as clothes were concerned, women only appeared to get off more lightly. On this morning, when, after breakfast and the performance of a few

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