Analysis of character: The mindworm

*Note: it was difficult to find any information on this story outside of the PDF given in class, so links were hard to come by*


                The Mindworm is a short story by Cyril M. Kornbluth from 1950 that utilitzes telepathy, mutant power, and arrogance. The story follows a boy, who is born an orphan, and is able to listen to people's thoughts and read minds. After growing into a young adult, he moves on to the lifestyle on the road. One day after being attacked by a group of "dirty" homeless men, he realizes he has the ability to feed off strong emotions by killing those that are experiencing them. He learns this by killing one of the homeless men. He then moves from town to town, eavesdropping on most conversations, trying to pick out people that are experiencing stronger emotions. He begins to think he has become very good at this, believing the murders he commits don't go noticed by the public in the town he is staying at. A nearby town however takes notice of these murders, and associate them with a "wampyir", meaning vampire. Before he realizes its meaning, the men burst in through his hotel room and kill him.

The reader/ audience watches as the Mindworm slowly gets better and better using his power to kill over the course of the story. From his first murder with the group of homeless people to his final murder with the girl in the alleyway, we see the character move from innocent to pretty much a serial killer. However the more that the boy kills the more confident and comfortable he becomes. This ultimately leads to him being killed. Almost throughout his life the the Mindworm had been casted aside by society as kind of an outcast. His doctor and the athletic director had a brief conversation in the story about making fun of the kid, and after that he is almost always traveling from place to place. This leads to him killing multiple people. He would have found his ability eventually , but the story mildly hints at a theme about the negativity behind rejection and seclusion of someone from society. The downfall of the main character could arguably hint at a theme about arrogance/cockiness. He murders several people in the final town that he stays at because he feels like he cannot be caught. The killings are not publicized in the town that he is staying at but he dismisses the possibility of it being mentioned somewhere else. Rather than waiting a little to kill someone again, and using his power to read minds defensively to see whether anything suspicious was being discussed nearby, he kills several people in the same area.   


Picture of Kornbluth linked from:

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