I agree that it is kind of tragic the way some of the residents of Innsmouth are still trying to ware clothes as if they are human. What I always wondered is, are Deep Ones simply humans that turned into what they are now, just like the townsfolk of Innsmouth, or are there 'pure' Deep Ones and then the hybrids - being those that used to be human. If so, I wonder if there is any form of class devision, like the hybrids have to do the jobs like cleaning the toilets while the true Deep Ones just lounge about eating fish?
That's an excellent point! I guess I'd always just assumed that there were "pure" Deep Ones and the hybrids were necessary to their plan because the original Deep Ones couldn't hack it on land for very long. Of course, there's nothing in the story to support that supposition. That's just my own interpretation.
On a more serious note, the reason I wonder about this is due to the difficulty they seem to have with their movement and general mobility. Many of them seem to be moving in different ways. Does the mutation effect different people slightly differently?
I'd always thought the author was describing people in different stages of degeneration. Though now I like the idea that the mutation varies from person to person, 'cause that's a lot scarier!
I always kind of assumed that in fact, we never actually get to see a 'pure' Deep One. I think the 'pure' Deep Ones would be just as adept on land as they are in the sea.
Yeah, I think you're right that we never get to see an "original." But I'd assumed just the opposite about them vis the land/sea mobility thing.
When I first read The Shadow Over Innsmouth, the word that came to mind as I read of the narrator's gradual acceptance of his hideous ancestry and then his desire to join them, having pretty much become one, was, 'monstrous' - in a good way. It was just so disturbing and scary, the way he was at first repulsed by what he found in Innsmouth, only to later discover that he was a part of it. I never considered the idea that the ending was, in a way, a happy one, for the narrator at least, but yes, I can understand why that could be seen as the case.
I'd never thought the fate of the narrator was a good one, either. I mean, he can't stop the change and he can't bring himself to suicide - so it's a lose/lose situation and in the end it drives him mad. After the change, I'd thought there might be some little part of him, trapped in his own head, so to speak, screaming through eternity in the lightless depths. Or possibly I'm just morbid.
Yet again, I feel I should bring up the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre radio adaptation of this story, as they handle the ending really well.
DART does a first-rate job as usual, and the props are especially good in this one, but personally I prefer the Atlanta Radio Theatre version. Harlan Ellison's portrayal of Zadok Allen is spot on and the company does an opening and closing chant that's genuinely chilling.