Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

XI.5, XII.1 Hudson

In chapter 11, Roderick's sleeplessness leads to his character's metamorphosis into spectral form. He is described as a "restless ghost." This spectralization has a frightening element in that it leads Rowland to a similar state of exhaustion, as Roderick "wearied him unspeakably." A condition related in popular cultural mythos to ghostly appearances.

In Chapter 12, Roderick describes what he imagines death will be like for him: "Buried in an open grave, where you lie staring up at the sailing clouds, smelling the waving flowers, and hearing all nature live and grow above you!" His inability in the second half of the novel to be rested (that is relaxed and rejuvenated) suggests that he is stuck. When asleep, a person experiences a sense of stuck-ness while undergoing sleep paralysis--"where you like staring up" with the sense of "being buried alive" and unable to move. Roderick uncannily describes the sensation: "Say that he trembled in every nerve with a sense of the beauty and sweetness of life; that he rebelled and protested and shrieked; that he was buried alive, with his eyes open, and his heart beating to madness; that he clung to every blade of grass and every way-side thorn as he passed; that it was the most horrible spectacle you ever witnessed; that it was an outrage, a murder, a massacre!”

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