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Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, Martin Luther University (Anglistik und Amerikanistik), course: Popular Literature in America, language: English, abstract: Helena Blavatsky's 'The Cave of the Echoes' is a vivid and colorful piece of occult fiction that features mysterious settings, some bizarre characters and supernatural happenings. But what exactly lies behind this occult story and how is the author and the story related to the supernatural? Is the story's purpose simply to entertain its readers or does it serve other functions such as the promotion of the author's theosophical ideas and ideology? How does a more complex knowledge of the occult help one to understand the meaning of 'The Cave of the Echoes' more clearly? This paper approaches these different questions by referring to the setting, three major characters and parts of the plot of 'The Cave of the Echoes'. Concerning the setting, it regards the story's rather vague location and analyzes its atmosphere. The following chapter studies those three major characters of the story that are most obviously related to occult practices and therefore demand special attention: the Hungarian mesmerizer, the Shaman and the child. The fourth chapter considers the truthfulness and the function of the story, the symbolic meaning of the cloud and the procedure of mesmerization. Moreover, it tries to answer the question if the mansion of Mr. Izvertzoff is accursed by the devil. The questions mentioned above are approached by regarding both Blavatsky's theoretical theosophical works and her fictional literature. Her wide range of publications allows one to gain detailed knowledge and permit a thorough analysis and interpretation of 'The Cave of the Echoes'. Certainly, this paper does not attempt to fully explain occult practices and happenings as Blavatsky's literature partly does. It rather collects fragments of Blavatsky's thoughts and experiences in order to gain a better understanding of the story's meaning and purpose.

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