Discussion Questions for “Lovecraft Country” Episodes 1 & 2

Write a paragraph or two in response to each of the following prompts.

What is the significance of the series title “Lovecraft Country”? In exploring this question, you’ll want to include put push beyond the initial acknowledgement that the first part of the title refers to the writer or weird cosmic horror, Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937). You might additionally consider the titles of the first two episodes, “Sundown” and “Whitey’s on the Moon.” (For those of you who might be new to my media studies series, this is a typical first question from me. I like to begin exploring works by teasing apart their titles and following the various strands of meaning and association.)

Who is the hero or central protagonist of this series? What do we know about that person? What is the significance of his or her name? What other main characters join our hero on the initial stages of their quest? What is that quest (at least initially)?

In addition to its clear obsession with books, “Sundown” (episode 1) seems stuffed to overflowing with all manner of signs, symbols, pictures, drawings, gestures, etc.? What do these images convey to us about the main characters and the world they inhabit? But also, why is the episode so saturated with these forms of non-verbal communication?

Similarly, why does so much of the dramatic tension in “Sundown” focus on liminality? That is, why is there such an emphasis on moving between spaces, crossing lines between states, cities, counties, and other borders like rivers and bridges? Note how even the temporal divide between day and night is referenced in the title of this first episode.

What is the significance of memory in “Whitey’s on the Moon” (episode 2)? How are ancestry, inheritance, and identity variously interconnected with memory? Is memory more of an individual trait or is it more collective? What happens if there is tension between individual memories and collective memories? Further, what is the importance of forgetting in this episode?

Published by Chuck Caruso

writer of dark fiction (crime, horror & western noir), literary & textual scholar (american gothic, noir, po-co, sf), and cultural critic

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