In "The Demon Lover," what details in the lovers' last meeting foreshadows a sinister, threatening reunion?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this story, the lovers’ last meeting foreshadows a sinister reunion in a number of ways. First of all, the girl has never completely seen her lover’s face, a fact which creates a rather sinister sense of mystery surrounding his identity. In addition, when she reaches out to him, his reaction is to cause her pain and to act in a way which lacks “kindness.” These details suggest that he does not love her at all; in fact, it implies that his purpose is far more sinister. The dialogue between the two lovers also foreshadows their reunion. Despite going off to war, the lover tells the girl that he shall be with her “sooner or later” and that all she has to do is “wait.” This implies that his return is imminent and that even war cannot keep him away. Finally, when her lover leaves, the girl is left feeling “apart” and “lost.” These feelings are very similar to the ones she experiences when she returns to her home in London. Remember that she is separated from her family and keen to return to her husband and children. Her meeting with the Demon Lover, however, is the only thing standing in her way.

gpane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several details in the description of the lovers' last meeting back in August 1916, which hint at a sinister reunion.

Firstly, the meeting is described as taking place in the dark, and Kathleen cannot clearly see her lover's face; this suggests a sinister unknown quality to him.

Secondly, the physical contact they have at this meeting - her lover pressing her hand - causes Kathleen physical pain, as his uniform button cuts her hand. She remembers this pain vividly, twenty-five years later.

Thirdly, the pledge to meet again is actually felt by Kathleen to be 'an unnatural promise, driving down between her and the rest of all humankind'. This explicitly tells us how uneasy this meeting with her lover has made her feel. She feels that being with him has cut her off from the ordinary run of things, so that she is actually relieved when the meeting is over and she can return to her family; but ultimately she will not be able to escape him. He promises to return to her, but not out of love; it seems that he simply wants control over her.