Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
“Demonology” consists of chronologically discontinuous fragments, many of which detail the last two days of Meredith’s life; the rest offer apparently random vignettes through which the narrator remembers his sister. The story begins with Meredith taking her children out trick-or-treating on Halloween, and initially, it appears to be a sympathetic portrait of a woman by her loving brother.
Various flashbacks show that Meredith comes from a reasonably well-off family and that she lived an exuberantly hedonistic life as a young woman. Members of both her immediate and extended family (including the unnamed narrator) have had problems with alcohol, but Meredith controlled her drinking, settled down, and become a devoted mother to her son and daughter. Meredith, who works hard at a lackluster job in a photo lab, enjoys amateur photography, and this passion is reflected in the story’s disjointed paragraphs, which resemble narrative snapshots. Through these snapshots, Meredith is revealed to be a spirited woman who once sold a camera to the British rock star Pete Townshend of the Who and made a point of telling him she was not a fan of his music.
Her brother, the narrator, does not mention until more than halfway through the story that Meredith has died. He meticulously describes her final moments, though it is evident that he was not present and is imagining what actually occurred. After returning from choir practice and tucking her...
(The entire section is 307 words.)
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