Key Points for Edgar Huntly

submitted by Samantha Samoiel from the class presentations for exam preparation

Sleep Walking

· When Huntley sleep walks, he awakens in a place where he is left to rely on his instinct rather than reason. “I seemed as if I were on the eve of being ushered into a world, whose scenes were tremendous, but sublime” (32).

· Clithero also a sleep walker. His sleep walking also allows him to enter into the world of instinct. His steps, “wandered forth unknowingly and without the guidance of my will” (84).

· able to go “internal.”

Murder: The First

· Instinctual: Huntly suggests a kill or be killed attitude. “To take the life of another was the only method of averting it” (172).

· Hydration: literal or blood thirsty?

· “In an extremity like this, my muscles would have acted almost in defiance of my will” (172). His statement implies that his violence was triggered by the human instinct to survive

· Mentions that this is the first time he has taken a human life.

· Potentially trying to save life of captive woman?

Murder: The Second

· Still Instinctual? Seems more like an act of vengeance.

· Huntly states that his family was murdered by native americans.

· Describes a total change in emotion: “I was somehow comforted in thinking that thus much of necessary vengeance had been executed” (179).

· No need to react, yet Huntly still takes the lives of three native americans.

· A thirst for vengeance

· forgets woman, and then “derived joy from reflecting that I had not abandoned her and that she owed her preservation to my efforts” (188).

· Although the woman is not his priority, he takes joy from taking her because it adds a “noble” quality to his violent actions.

Native Americans

· Huntly has an agenda: Native Americans killed his family.

· he now groups ALL Native Americans with the select few that murdered his family.

· Violence towards Native Americans is a projection of his anger stemming from the loss of his family.

Uncontrollable Nature of Man

· Throughout Murders, Huntly states that “I was not governed by the soul which usually regulates my conduct” (184).

· “Such are the deeds which perverse nature compels thousands of rational beings to perform and to witness!” (193)

· Temptations of gain and illusions of honor

· In situations of instinct, man will seldom use his moral compass.

Social Commentary?