The Haunting Lover Essay, Research Paper
In Elizabeth Bowen’s short story “The Demon Lover” Mrs. Drover is being haunted by her dead lover who has returned from the dead in a supernatural form. There are many facts in the story to support this theory. The author indirectly describes the house to be somewhat haunted. She says as well that the surrounding houses are all unoccupied which implying that Mrs. Drover’s house may be haunted. There are other factors to support the idea of the supernatural. A letter that is waiting on a table in the hallway with no logical explanation of how it got there, and a mysterious taxi. Bowen describes the character of Mrs. Drover to be paranoid. When she first enters the house in London she gets a feeling of dead air. “Dead air came out to meet her as she went in” (Bowen 234). The house is described as a haunted house. The windows are shuttered so that no light can enter and there is a film of dust everywhere. When Mrs. Drover goes upstairs to get items from her chest she becomes very worried. When she heard the sounds of the rain she had to keep on looking over her shoulder to see if anyone was there (Bowen 235). This was after she had read the letter. “The hour arranged….My God,” she said, “what hour? How should I…? After twenty-five years….” (Bowen 235). Mrs. Drover actually believe that someone or something will come for her at “the arranged hour”. When she decides to leave she thinks that someone may be waiting for her downstairs. When she unlocks the door to check, she hears someone leaving the house. There is no way for this person to know to leave just as she was opening the door. There must have been a supernatural force, or some kind of telepathy. This person knew that Mrs. Drover was about to come downstairs and left the house just as she was leaving. The most important argument is the letter that magically places itself on the table in the hallway. It would be expected to find a letter in the mailbox or on the floor underneath a mail slot. There was no sign of the caretaker coming in that day (Bowen 237). The caretaker did not know that she would be coming to the house that day and he was the only person besides Mrs. Drover who had a key to the house. It is unlikely that the caretaker would know that that particular day was the anniversary of Mrs. Drover and her lover from 25 years in the past. The post office redirects all of mail and there was no stamp on the letter. Therefore the letter was hand delivered by someone who could enter the house without a key which would be quite difficult when the windows are shuttered. There was no sign of a break in. Another point that the author makes is Mrs. Drover’s reaction to reading the letter. “her lips, beneath the remains of lipstick, beginning to go white” (Bowen 235). She dropped the letter in fear and even went to go look in a mirror to see if there were any physical changes as a result of her fear. Perhaps the author wants the reader to think that there is a ghost in the house.
The last fact to support the supernatural theory is the taxi. The taxi that Mrs. Drover got into was the only taxi in sight at that time. The driver, who was possibly the person leaving Mrs. Drover’s house, was able to read Mrs. Drover’s mind. He knew that she was going to look for a taxi, and he knew that she was about to come downstairs and leave. The driver was waiting for her and started driving before she even told him where to go. It is not possible for a human being to read someone else’s mind. Mrs. Drover did not say out loud that she was going to go find a taxi, and it would have been a difficult guess for the person inside her house if he is not some kind of supernatural being. There are many facts in Elizabeth Bowen’s “The Demon Lover” like the taxi, and the letter and the authors use of phrases that suggest a haunted house, that show that Mrs. Drover is indeed being haunted by her ex-lover who has returned from the dead.
Bowen, Elizabeth. “The Demon Lover.” LIT: Literature and Interperative Techniques. Eds Wilfred L. Guerin et al. New York: Harper, 1986. 234-238.