- Slough of Despond
The Slough of Despond is a deep
bogin John Bunyan's allegory " The Pilgrim's Progress", into which the character Christian sinks under the weight of his sins and his sense of guilt. "It is the low ground where the scum and filth of a guilty conscience, caused by conviction of sin, continually gather, and for this reason it is called the Slough of Despond." [Pilgrim's Progress in Today's English at 18 (Ed., James H. Thomas 1964)]
It has been referred to frequently in subsequent literature.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale "The Celestial Railroad" is a satirical contrast between Bunyan's "A Pilgrim's Progress" and Hawthorne's perception of the current state of society. In Emily Brontë's " Wuthering Heights" the character Mr. Heathcliff likens his son's state of depression to having been dropped "into a Slough of Despond". In " Horatio Hornblower: The Even Chance", by C. S. Forester, Midshipman Archie Kennedy describes Hornblower's new home as "His Majesty's ship of the line Justinian, known elsewise among her intimates as the good ship Slough of Despond." In Mary McCarthy's novel "The Group" (1954), "Kay saw that [her husband, Harald] was sinking into a Slough of Despond (they had coined this name for his sudden, Scandinavian fits of depression)…" In Harlan Ellison's short story " I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967) the last five surviving humans are tortured by a godlike artificial intelligence named AM. The narrator relates how, among other harrowing experiences, "We passed through the Slough of Despond." [ [http://www.answers.com/topic/i-have-no-mouth-and-i-must-scream-story-2 Plot summary of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"] on About.com]
An area of wetlands in
Canadais named after this fictional construct, located on the Bruce Trail near Big Bay, Ontario, north of Owen Sound.
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