Lost in Terror: Mark Slouka’s short story “The Hare’s Mask”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines terror as “the state of being terrified or extremely frightened; intense fear or dread; an instance or feeling of this.” Throughout Mark Slouka’s short story “The Hare’s Mask,” the author presents an elegant story filled with a theme of terror. In the short story, a young boy (the narrator) discusses the attachment that his father has developed toward rabbits that he took care of as a child. The terror represented in “The Hare’s Mask” consists of the violence that torments the father as he has to kill one of the rabbits every week for dinner and the loss of his parents and sister. In the hare’s mask, Slouka’s short story symbolizes the loss of loved ones, which fears the son that his father will have to relive the same kind of terror that the father experienced as a child. The readers can relate to the kind of terror illustrated in the story as the catharsis they experience without the actual suffering or loss of loved ones.

The author explicitly illustrates a sense of loss at the very beginning of the story, instantly placing the reader into its mood of sadness. In the first line of the story, the young boy says, “Odd how I miss his voice, and yet it’s his silences I remember now” (61). Using phrases such as “I miss his voice” introduces the reader to the theme of sadness and loss, which will appear continuously in the story.