Summary Edit

The Transfer, by Algernon Blackwood[1], was written in December of 1911, and first appeared in Country Life, Vol. 30 No. 779. Algernon Blackwood (March 14, 1869- December 10, 1951) was an English writer, who wrote many prominent horror and ghost stories.

Algernon Blackwood

The Transfer is told through a narrator, who tells everything that is going on. Oddly, there are two main characters, or characters that are of such importance to the story. First the dead plot of land in the garden and Mr. Ferne. Mr. Ferne is an honored guest coming over, and Jamie the son of the narrator who is kept in her room when Mr. Ferne arrives, as he was hysterical. The narrator lets the reader know about Mr. Ferne describing him as “a man who drooped alone, but grew vital in a crowd--because he used their vitality.” Mr. Ferne is a vitality vampire[2], who feeds off of people's energy, thoughts and riches. This isn’t a typical vampire story like Bram Stoker's Dracula[3], as he isn’t secluded from society, he doesn't only come out at night and he doesn't drink anyone's blood. He is a a peoples vampire, that is the Jamie’s “uncle” or so they call him. Mr. Ferne also has a wife and kid, which deviates from the normal vampire style.

In the beginning of the story, the narrator talks about the dead patch of land, speculating on what it was from. When Mr. Ferne noticed the dead patch, he cries out, marching over to see it. He calls it “horrid” and asks if someone is crying over in that place. This patch of land is similar to Mr. Ferne as it draws life from other things, but it is quite hungry. Mr. Ferne and the land clash as they both take life. Mr. Ferne ends up passing out and being taken inside where he recovers. The narrator then states that the next day the patch is thick with healthy weeds.

Analysis Of "Uncle Frank"

The Transfer by Algernon Blackwood contained very few characters but the most intriguing was the character Mr. Frene, senior, or “Uncle Frank”. “Uncle Frank” was a very interesting character because it was hard to determine exactly what his role throughout the story was going to be and the narrator of the story, Miss Gould, didn’t know what to expect either.

“Uncle Frank” is first described by the little boy Jamie as the man with the ‘normous’ face, and Jamie feared him horribly, bursting into tears when hearing that he was coming by, which was interesting because Jamie had never actually met “uncle Frank” before. Also, soon after finding out that “uncle Frank” was coming by, Jamie is seen crying near “The Forbidden corner” by Miss Gould. This leaves the reader in suspense for a couple reasons. The first, what’s the reasoning behind Jamie’s actions after finding out “uncle Frank” was coming for a visit. The other, what is the relationship between Jamie, “The Forbidden Corner”, and “uncle Frank” himself.

After discovering that “uncle Frank” was really a human vampire, both reasons were answered. The author does an excellent job by linking “uncle Frank” and his personality with the comparison of a dry patch of grass. The dry patch was so lifeless, nothing growing at all and no one could understand why. Meanwhile, “uncle Frank” was full of life, even being described as a “great human sponge”, showing all the takings of life absorbed from others. It was obvious to relate that all the life being given to the small patch of grass was being sucked away by the vampire itself. By the end of the story the reader also realizes that Jamie’s description of “uncle Frank” as a person with an enormous face is accurate. 

Reference Edit


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