The Yattering and Jack
This week we read a story called The Yattering and Jack, a short story about a little demon that is not quite ready for prime time. This little devil has been tasked with menacing a man names Jack who is a difficult victim and impossible to conquer.
The Yattering has been deployed by management (The Devil I think) to haunt and taunt Jack and make him have a mental breakdown. Tray as he might, the Yattering is unable to complete his task. He makes noises, breaks objects, causes the death of animals and nothing works.
In reading this story, I learned that not all monsters are scary. I already knew that, but this story really shined a light on that fact. I came to feel sorry for the Yattering.
The Yattering was not a very good tormentor; he was not a good fit for the job. He was under pressure from management to bring the job to completion. His confidence was low, and he hated himself in the process. He was set up in an impossible task.
I have some questions that might have been answered in the text but I missed them or did not connect the dots. First, if Jack was an atheist then how come he remained atheist once he knew that the Yattering was real and especially once the Yattering became visible to him. Would not the reality of seeing a real live demon in essence trigger an epiphany where he would realize that there is a heaven and hell?
Also, what was Jack’s motive in exposing the Yattering? Was it to gain relief from the relentless taunting? Or, was he looking to make the Yattering his servant? I can see either possibility or maybe even both make sense.
Jack did do a pretty good job of keeping his composure throughout the story as the Yattering became more intrusive and annoying. Jacek even did a pretty good job of keeping this family calm and making excuses for the odd things happening in the house.
All in all, I kind of felt sorry for the Yattering. I did however feel that the Yattering was going to be better off in the end serving Jack. His original masters were not nice and his life was based upon doing their evil bidding. At least with Jack he will probably live a calmer life.
Looking at monsters through this lens is an interesting concept. As we saw in one of this week’s other assignments where we were to empathize with a monster, we see things through a different lens. Instead of seeing a monster as merely a being that scares us, we are looking at other qualities. Actually seeing a monster as a vulnerable being.