American Literature:
Allegory & Satire
 

AMERICAN LITERATURE:

ALLEGORY
&
SATIRE

PART I

ALLEGORY

   

An allegory is a story in which persons, objects and actions in the narrative have symbolic meanings. For example, in the movie, Avatar, the planet Pandora is named after Pandora, a goddess in Greek mythology, who opened Pandora's Box to release all evils on mankind. Therefore, one symbolic meaning of the planet is that the human conquerors’ desire for the rare and valuable mineral, unobtanium, releases all the greed and other evils within them, and this in turn leads to war and their defeat by Pandora’s alien natives.

In Dante Wilson and The Well of Souls, there are many symbols. Here are only some of these symbols that might serve as a springboard for further discussion.

THE TITLE

The Well of Souls appears in the movie, The Raiders of the Lost Ark as the room where the Ark of the Covenant is kept, and in the movie, The Seventh Seal, where it represents the Guf, where human souls are stored.

The Well of Souls is a holy place in Judaic and Christian religions where incomplete, or sinful human souls are kept. When whole, or cleansed of sin, these souls are worthy of coming forward onto the earth, at which time the Well of Souls will be empty, and Judgment Day will arrive.

But in Dante Wilson, the Well of Souls is the name of an interdimensional troopship that the Trickster has had built by the spirit of the dead Nazi scientist, Professor Herman Von Neumann, and its interior is an exact duplicate of Las Vegas. It’s filled with the souls of the most evil warriors in history that will return to earth for the Trickster's own version of Judgment Day. Its meaning therefore is ironic and The Well of Souls is an evil parody of its counterpart in Judaic and Christian religions.

The other name in the title is Dante Wilson, who symbolizes decency and goodness. Therefore, symbolically, Dante Wilson and The Well of Souls is about the battle of good versus evil.

The Wilson Farm

The author has placed the setting of his story on a farm in the midwest because a farm contrasts sharply with city life.

What are some of the differences, both real and symbolic, of life on a farm life versus life in the city?

Could a story like Dante Wilson and the Well of Souls have taken place in a city setting? Give reasons why or why not.

The Blue Quarry Woods on the Wilson farm is a place of beauty, mystery, innocence and evil. The pristine innocence of the woods is shattered when the evil soul of the Trickster’s top Nazi scientist, Professor Herman Von Neumann, formerly Hitler’s top weapons designer and inventor of the Messerschmitt 262, discovers a unique intersection of the earth’s magnetic grids in the Blue Quarry Woods, which is the only place on earth where he can conduct field tests for his prototype of the Well of Souls.

On command of Lord Bartleby, the spirit guide of a deceased Anglican bishop, Dante Wilson and his band of children, called Light Warriors, must enter the Blue Quarry Woods on several occasions, and when they do, they discover many of its secrets, but also encounter the Trickster’s evil forces. Before the Trickster can launch his plans for earth’s Judgment Day, he must drive Dante Wilson and his friends into betraying the Light Master and committing suicide. This takes place in the book’s climax, the Battle of the Blue Quarry Woods.

THE CHARACTERS

Dante Wilson is a typical schoolboy who lives on a farm in Iowa with his mother and his uncle, Professor Wilson. Dante is leery about his uncle's strange, almost preternatural Tesla experiments, and avoids his laboratory as much as possible.

Dante's only interests are as a pitcher on his high school baseball team, and in Celestial Rose Moon, a beautiful, mysterious classmate who is part Iowa Indian and part Brazilian. Every day on the school bus, Rose Moon ignores Dante Wilson, until one morning she walks to the back of the bus, sits down beside Dante, and asks him to critique a class speech she has on the paranormal...

And from that moment on, Dante Wilson's life is never the same.

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Dante Wilson is a good, but often naive young man who also symbolizes several different sides of human nature.

What are some of these sides, and what roles do they play in the story?

Mrs. Wilson is a simple, decent mother who loves her son, Dante. She is both leery and constantly annoyed by her brother, Professor Wilson, and is convinced that he played some role in the mysterious death of her husband, Dante's father, when he was struck and killed by a bolt of lightning on a clear blue, sunny day.

Mrs. Wilson detests her brother's experiments, even though he has become very rich from his patents, and generously provides for her and Dante.

Who or what does Mrs. Wilson symbolize in this story?

Professor Earl Edison Wilson is a brilliant scientist, the brother to Emma Wilson and uncle to Dante Wilson. He is taking the amazing experiments of America’s greatest scientist, Nikola Tesla, to the next level. As Tesla did with his Pierce Arrow automobile in 1939, Professor Wilson has developed an automobile that runs on free energy from the earth’s magnetic field. Some of his other experiments appear to be almost preternatural in nature because they tap into the Light Master’s domain, the Cosmic Energy Web, which is the endless ether, or universal energy field that extends from the deepest quantum levels of the human body to the furthest reaches of outer space.

Professor Wilson knows that if his free energy devices ever become public knowledge, the repticons who control the fossil fuel industry, and the government agents and politicians they own, will kill him and his family.

However, Professor Wilson is also a lampoon (see Lampoon below) of the self-righteous scientist who claims to know everything, and ridicules any new discovery that conflicts with his own fundamentalist scientific dogma.

Celestial Rose Moon has paranormal powers and is a descendent of an Indian father who, for unknown reasons, was killed by Lord Bartleby, and the real life Carlos Mirabelli (see The Paranormal), a Brazilian who had paranormal powers even greater than those of D.D. Home.

Rose Moon has been warned by her aunt not to use her paranormal powers because they will get her into trouble.

Rose Moon also has a guardian spirit who calls herself Isis, an Egyptian goddess. But the spirit herself is not Isis.

Who is she?

What does Celestial Rose Moon symbolize?

Dakota is the leader of the group of street children from Chicago that includes her little sister, Alexie, who also has paranormal powers, and her brother, Coriolanus (“Cory”) These children have lost their home and parents and have been sent to the Wilson farm by Lord Bartleby to meet Dante Wilson and Rose Moon. Lord Bartleby has given them $5 million to complete their mission, but Dakota tries to steal the money and run off. Lord Bartleby angrily stops her and puts out her eye, which is why she wears an eye patch.

Dakota is strong and practical, but the fact that she tried to steal the $5 million and abandon her little brother and sister comes back to haunt her in the Battle of the Blue Quarry Woods.

What does Dakota symbolize?

Alexie, Coriolanus and little Vincent. Alexie is the small child and channeler through whom Lord Bartleby speaks to Dakota and the others. She is sweet and innocent, but possesses very strange, deadly powers.

Coriolanus (“Cory”) is shifty, untrustworthy and lazy. He has no powers, but for some unknown reason, Lord Bartleby takes a liking to him and allows him to freely spend some of their $5 million cache, which infuriates Dakota.

Cory is a free spirit, a maverick and a rogue all rolled up into one. But he also has some redeeming qualities.

What are some of them?

Little Vincent appears to be a small, raggedy boy who was abandoned in the Blue Quarry Woods, but as the story progresses, we learn that he’s much more than he seems.

Who is little Vincent, and what does he symbolize?

The Light Master is the omnipotent creator of the universe and arch enemy of the Trickster. He never speaks and is never seen, but his actions and miracles regularly intervene in the earth world and Winterland.

What is a more common name for the Light Master?

Why do you think Professor Browne didn’t use that name?

Lord Bartleby is the spirit of a dead Anglican bishop. He is a guide for the three street children from Chicago and a Light Lord warrior in the army of the Light Master. He also has a very short fuse and will not tolerate profanity or rudeness.

What or what does Lord Bartleby symbolize?

THE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS

D.D. Home, Carlos Mirabelli, Wolf Messing and Ed Leedskalnin are all real life historical persons who possessed paranormal powers. (See The Paranormal)

PART II

SATIRE

Satire. Compared to many other devices like caricature, lampoon and parody, satire is usually a much lower key way of attacking targets like politicians or social ideas. Often the purpose of satire is to spark social or political change.

Irony is a low key way of saying one thing and meaning just the opposite. Example: Professor Herman Von Neumann is the spirit of a dead Nazi scientist who has created the Well of Souls, but when he changes the Well of Souls into a giant Shadow Snake to kill Dante Wilson and his friends, Lord Bartleby intervenes with a little magic of his own—a deadly white cloud. When Professor Von Neumann sees this phenomenon at work, he exclaims, “That’s scientifically impossible!” While the Professor means exactly what he says, considering the fact that he’s dead, and has created his own “scientifically impossible” Well of Souls, this comment is intensely ironic. It is also a satirical slap at the Professor’s blind skepticism and obtuseness, even after he’s dead.

Sarcasm is a much less subtle, mocking way of saying one thing and meaning just the opposite. Example: When Professor Von Neumann refuses to believe that mankind could ever become extinct, Marianna the kraakseer pays mocking tribute to Hitler’s belief that the Third Reich would last a thousand years: “Yeah, right--Seig Heil, putz!” But she means just the opposite because the Third Reich went up in flames after only a few years.

Sadonicism is an even more intensely derisive and mocking attack than a sarcastic one. Example: One of Professor Von Neumann’s remarks provokes Marianna the kraakseer to use her sorceress powers—she lengthens his neck, twists his head around backward, and then makes it suddenly disappear up his own butt. After the Professor stops shouting, his head pops free again, but he realizes that his glasses are missing and he frantically exclaims:

"My glasses--where are my--"

But Marianna cuts him short with the sharply sardonic reply—

"--Blind men need no glasses, fool!"

The word “sardonic” gets its name from the effects of a highly poisonous hemlock plant, Oenanthe crocata. If this plant is ingested, it will cause a person to die with a horribly distorted grin on his face. This death grin is called risus sardonicus.

Caricature is aimed of political figures, etc., and often consists of grossly exaggerated cartoon figures; however, a caricature can also be written or enacted, e.g., Tina Fey’s caricature of Sarah Palin.

Parody is a comical mimicry of another work or person. In Dante Wilson and the Well of Souls, both Professor Wilson and Professor Hermann Von Neumann are parodies of the self-righteous scientist who claims to know everything and ridicules any new discovery that conflicts with his own fundamentalist dogma.

Lampoon is an even more vicious, exaggerated attack on something or someone, often in writing. In Dante, the characters of Governor Snake Wilson and billionaire repticon, David Cock, are respective lampoons of the greedy, corrupt politicians and billionaires who are destroying America and the world.

WINTERLAND

In his research after the death of his daughter, Professor Browne learned about the noted twentieth century British scientist, Dr. Robert Crookall, and a brilliant nineteenth century French educator by the name of Allan Kardec. Both these men are unique in the history of paranormal research because they were the first to use scientific protocols in sifting through thousands of reputable sources to compile consistent views of life after death. And even though the research sources that each man used were completely different and they lived a hundred years apart in different countries, their two portraits of the afterlife are remarkably similar.

Dr. Crookall described these afterlife worlds in The Supreme Adventure, and Allan Kardec in Le Livre des Mediums (The Mediums' Book) and Le Livre des Esprits (The Spirits' Book).

Allen Kardec is the only paranormal researcher in history whose books started a major spiritual movement that has spread throughout the world, especially in Brazil. Kardecism isn’t a religious movement, but a philosophy, or a way of life. Kardecists have no priests or ministers and do not follow any religious rituals. They do not call their meeting places churches, temples or mosques, but centers, societies and associations. Their activities consist mainly of helping others, healing the sick and the poor, and organizing charitable missions.

According to these two researchers, there are two distinct worlds that we pass on to after death, and each of them is closely linked to the vibratory level of light waves.

The first afterlife dimension is the bleak gray "winterland" world that is populated by condemned spirits of the lowest vibratory level who appear "reddish-gray" in color;

In the 1961 edition of The Supreme Adventure, Dr. Crookall points out that most of the rambling information we receive from afterlife spirits through channelers or mediums is due to the fact that the vast majority of the spirits in contact with these people are prankish, or even malicious souls from the "Winterland" dimension closest to earth with no special powers or purpose except to make a personal playground of their human contacts:

"All except a small number of the 'dead' are as ignorant as are men on earth. That is why so many séances are disappointing...There is, in the atmosphere of the earth, an innumerable crowd of wandering, desolate souls who watch for any 'light' on earth, the light of a spiritual psychic, and who rush in whirling throngs to a spot where a possibility of manifesting themselves occurs." (W.T. Snead, Communication with the Next World)

The second afterlife dimension is a much brighter, paradise-like "summerland" world of light and joy that is adjacent to the gray world, and it is filled with "gray-blue to bright blue" souls who have led decent lives here on earth.

Therefore, in Dante Wilson and The Well of Souls, Winterland is an obvious symbol for what far better known afterlife world?

However, Winterland is significantly different from any traditional religious afterlife world because it involves often harsh, crude satire and has many things found here on earth.

For example, Low Castle, the industrial heart of Winterland, seems like a hellish place of eternal punishment straight out of the Bible, but its description fits some very real places here on earth. Name a few such places. Hint: at mnn.com, see "The 15 most toxic places to live."

Here are some other places or things in Winterland. What do they symbolize or satirize?

Mount Golgotha.

The Mighty Golgotha Whisperers.

The Right Reverend Bosin Higgs

Whisperwurmers

The Black Fires of Despond

The Byme River

The Field of Gold Crosses

IRONY

The Trickster was a demigod on earth who got out of control with his evil ways and started World War I and World War II. As punishment, the Light Master condemned him to Winterland, the dark world closest to earth, where evil souls pass on to after death. Even though the Trickster rules this dark domain, he’s still a rebel, and with the help of the spirits of dead Nazi scientists, including Professor Herman Von Neumann, he plans to break through the invisible veil barrier that separates Winterland from the earth for his own special version of Judgment Day, when he will resume his wild life as a demigod who loves expensive things, beautiful strippers and getting drunk as much as possible.

On earth, the Trickster was the incarnation of the god Loki, who embodies the best and worst sides of mankind--bright but stupid, handsome but ugly, and powerful but weak because of his own flaws. He will forever be the greedy, selfish rich boy who believes in nothing but himself, spreading evil, and having fun at the expense of others.

The central irony of Dante Wilson and The Well of Souls is that although the Trickster is the demon ruler of Winterland, the most evil dimension in the universe, he fears earth’s repticon leaders who have surpassed him in evil with their ruthless tactics for enslaving mankind and destroying the earth. His fears of being overthrown are partly confirmed by the repticon billionaire, David Cock, in his secret phone conversation with Governor Snake Walker. The moment they die, the Trickster relishes welcoming a limited number of repticon leaders to Winterland because he can punish them with unspeakable horrors for their evil lives. But his greatest fear is that one of earth’s leaders will trigger a nuclear war that will destroy mankind, thereby unleashing an irresistible force of repticon souls into Winterland, where they will most certainly topple the Trickster’s empire.

The Trickster therefore has no choice but to mount a pre-emptive strike against America with his interdimensional starship, The Well of Souls. Once his legions of sturmgeist warriors lands in the Blue Quarry Woods, he knows that if the price is right, Congress will sell out America with federal funding to provide food, sheter and arms for his legions. Washington politicians will then mount a united campaign to warn the American sheeple that such funding must be approved immediately as “a bailout and necessary stimulus for economic recovery,” or the entire economy will collapse overnight.

Marianna the Kraakseer was the twentieth century New Jersey incarnation of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a.k.a. “The Blood Countess,” or “The Blood Queen.” The Countess was a sixteenth century member of the noble Bathory family of Hungary, and is sometimes referred to as the most notorious serial killer in history. Although the exact number of her victims is unknown, one witness said that the Countess murdered over 600 young servant women who were either recruited from nearby families or kidnapped. When she was young, the Countess was a famous beauty who was known for her lustrous black hair and pale skin. As she grew older, she tortured and killed hundreds of her young virgin servant women so that she could drink and bathe in their blood to keep herself young. She was eventually arrested and put on trial, but not sentenced to death because of the influence of her noble family. Instead, she was imprisoned in a single room of her castle where she died after four years.

Marianna the kraakseer was the reincarnation of Countess Bathory, and she had both the gift and the curse to see and communicate with evil Winterland spirits who eventually drove her crazy. She was placed in a New Jersey asylum, and after she died, she entered Winterland, where the Trickster soon learned of her extraordinary preternatural powers, including the ability to see into the future. Marianna immediately put the Trickster on notice that she preferred to be called “Countess,” and further infuriated him by informing him that she owned her own lavish castle in Winterland. Once the Countess teams up with Professor Herman Von Neumann, the Trickster realizes that she is becoming a threat to his throne, but he still keeps her close to his side because he needs her powers to drive Dante Wilson, Rose Moon and the other Light Warriors to suicide.

Who or what does the Countess symbolize?

Professor Herman Von Neumann is the evil soul of one of Hitler’s dead Nazi scientists who helped develop the world’s first fighter jet, the Messerschmitt 262. The Trickster enlists the services of the Professor and his corps of dead Nazi engineers to build the Well of Souls. However, like all the dark souls in Winterland, Professor Von Neumann is extremely untrustworthy and has to be carefully watched by the Trickster.

Even though he’s a human spirit in Winterland, the Professor is still blindly skeptical toward paranormal phenomena, which leads to several heated confrontations with the Countess Bathory, who has paranormal powers of her own and zero tolerance for blind skeptics.

The character of Professor Herman Von Neumann therefore has several symbolic meanings. Name some of them

Repticons are the greedy, corrupt politicians, corporations and billionaires who own America and are enslaving mankind and destroying the earth. They are experts at manipulating the forever gullible peasant masses with fear and electronic toys (digicrack) that keeps them “numb, dumb and high on endless lines of lies and funfun.”

Skepticons are scientists and other experts who masquerade as objective critics, but consistently oppose important new discoveries in order to defend their own obsolete scientific dogma.