Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts

H.P. Lovecraft

Sophie Phillips 

The School of Americas and Human Rights Violations

H.P. Lovecraft: Mankind’s Fear of Their Own Insignificance

H.P. Lovecraft’s novels and short stories, while best known for their popularity within the horror genre, also convey the universal and insurmountable fear of mankind, namely, of their lack of power in comparison to the greater forces of the world. All of his stories end with the narrator feeling detached, alone, and destroyed. Encounters with monstrous creatures cause Lovecraft’s characters to self-destruct in the face of their own insignificance. In the short story “The Hound,” the narrator and his friend St. John discover an ancient book and bring it home with them. After picking up the ancient book, he feels this daemonic possession take over. At the end of the short story, the narrator reveals that the story is his own suicide note, asserting that suicide by gunshot is the only way he can seek refuge from the evil deity manifesting within him. Throughout Lovecraft’s work, the protagonists all suffer a similar fate: a paralyzing fear that ultimately destroys them, resulting from their discovery of how weak and meaningless they truly are in comparison to the other realms.

Just as H.P. Lovecraft depicts forces that threaten mankind, the School of Americas (SOA) trained Latin American soldiers in torture, extortion, and murder. The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, a military institute otherwise known as the School of the Americas, remains widely unknown to the average American. The tyrannical military dictators trained at this United States facility, who committed atrocious crimes against humanity, have gone unpunished and ignored. Thousands of military soldiers trained at the SOA became known torturers, rapists, and assassins. During their five years at the SOA, military soldiers only receive eight hours of human rights training. The notorious tyrants trained at SOA are responsible for human rights violations, massacres, disappearances, and political oppression. The U.S. originally created the SOA to combat communism during the Cold War, but it paved the way for corrupt dictatorships throughout Latin America in the decades following. The United States of America exercised her imperialistic power over Latin America through SOA and is as guilty as those tyrannical dictators who committed these human rights violations.

Major Works Consulted:
Lovecraft, H.P. Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre . New York: Arkham House, 1982.
---. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories . New York: Penguin, 1999.
Pike, John. “United States Army School of the Americas: Background and Congressional Concerns.” Global Security . Accessed Feb. 11, 2017. library/reports/crs/soa.htm.
“The School of Americas.” The School of Americas Watch . Accessed January 23, 2017.
Photo Credit: Ortberg, Mallory. "Texts From H.P. Lovecraft." The Toast. N.p., 23 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.