A study on Clive Barker part 29, How Spoilers Bleed.
Welcome to part 29 of my study on Clive Barker. Today, we will be looking at his short story 'How the Spoilers Bleed.'
Summary: The story tells the tale of Locke, and his men, as they try to drive a group of Indians of a piece of land in South America. The men shoot and kill a young boy which invokes the Indian's mystic to curse the group of men. The curse causes the men's bodies to fall apart from the simplest touch (A piece of dust cuts one of the men's arms wide open), and one by one each man dies. After all of his men have died, and he has realized he is the curse, Locke returns to the tribe only to discover the group has all died from a death blanket (I'll explain this in the notes) and that no one is alive to remove the curse. The story ends with someone patting Locke and his body beginning to bleed.
There are four great notes I took while reading this short story.
1. The story reminded me a lot of the movie 'Cannibal Holocaust.' This story is an exploitation story, a story about 'civilized' people taking advantage/mistreating the 'uncivilized' natives. Like all exploitation stories, it ends badly for the civilized people. So here we learn an important story-telling concept, when you have an exploitation story, the exploiter (the spoiler) is always killed/punished because he or she under-estimated the person or persons they were exploiting; also, the MC is always the exploiter (showing us that an MC doesn't have to be a 'good' person.) This is a really important concept to understand -story-telling-wise- that all writers should be aware of.
2. The next thing I really like is the use of a Death Blanket. When Europeans came to America, they brought with them all the diseases that they were immune to/head resistance against; The Indians who did not have these immunities or resistances died by tens of thousands to these new diseases. A Death Blanket is where they'd take the Blanket from a sick European, and give it to the Indians. The germs off of the Blanket would kill entire tribes, and no blood-shed/battle would have to have.
3. Another thing I've noticed is that Clive Barker compares rotting Fruit to rotting Flesh in a lot of his stories. While I have no plans on burrowing this comparison, I do like how the repeating on this idea in his works gives his a writing a unique voice. (Now every time I see someone compare Rotting Flesh to Rotting Fruit, I am going to be like 'that is very Clive Barker of you.')
4. The last thing I took a note on was when the tribe's mystic casts the curse, he speaks in the voice of the jungle. His voice sounds like a trigger, then insects chirping, then a pig. I really like the concepts of a humanoid speaking in the voice of an animal. I find the concept unsettling and I'd like to use the idea in the future in my own writings.
This concludes my look at 'How Spoilers Bleed.' If you have a thought or a question, please leave a like or comment!
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