Children of the Corn - Sight Unseen

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Oct 27, 2015
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Hi everyone,

I was wondering what could be meant by "sight unseen" in the following paragraph:

'They were standing in a bar of dusty sunlight that fell through the lunchroom's big plate-glass window and again he had that feeling of being watched and he thought of the boy they had in their trunk, and of the high laughter of children. A phrase came to him for no reason, a legal-sounding phrase, and it began to repeat mystically in his mind: Sight unseen. Sight unseen. Sight unseen.'

Thanks for your help!
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
87,651
358,754
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Cambridge, Ohio
Hi everyone,

I was wondering what could be meant by "sight unseen" in the following paragraph:

'They were standing in a bar of dusty sunlight that fell through the lunchroom's big plate-glass window and again he had that feeling of being watched and he thought of the boy they had in their trunk, and of the high laughter of children. A phrase came to him for no reason, a legal-sounding phrase, and it began to repeat mystically in his mind: Sight unseen. Sight unseen. Sight unseen.'

Thanks for your help!
sight un·seen
[sīt ˌənˈsēn]
ADVERB

  1. without the opportunity to look at the object in question beforehand:
    "they bought their computers sight unseen through the mail"
    • without being seen:
      "what other treasures remain sight unseen?"
 
Oct 27, 2015
13
44
39
So in the story's context it simply refers to an invisible observer? At this point of story, Burt has the feeling thatche's being watched...
 
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Mary Strickland

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May 18, 2009
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Question, I have been looking back to older SK works and want to know is Children of the Corn the title of a story, included in a collection of stories, or the title of a book?
 

Mary Strickland

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May 18, 2009
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Children of the Corn is a short story which was part of the Night Shift collection.
Thank you, I think. I checked out Night Shift from the library and their only copy was audio on 10 CD's. I was looking for Sometimes They Come Back which was listed as the last selection. BTW, Children of the Corn is not listed on this copy of Night Shift. I listened to CD 10, but Sometimmes They Come Back was not on it. You cannot see, touch or feel stories on audio medium and, more than anything, I wanted to sling the CD's like frisbies into the next county. I will find and buy these two stories in print. So you provided the answer I needed after all. lol
 

Gerald

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Sep 8, 2011
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I could look how it was translated here, but I lost the first part of Night Shift unfortunately (at one time Night Shift and Skeleton Crew came out here 'broken up' into several smaller books, Night Shift had two and Skeleton Crew three).

Amazingly they're doing yet another film. It looks like it's a prequel this time, leading up to when the parents were killed:


The longevity of this particular story in movies is incredible. I wonder why they return to it over and over again. You never hear about a big fan base for these movies, but still they must be incredibly popular.
 
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Gerald

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I'm always amazed at how close the story is to the Spanish horrorfilm 'Who can kill a Child' from 1976. It is exactly the same premise, just on a Spanish island instead of a Nebraska town. Of course in the Spanish film there is no corn, but just like in the story it's a couple that come to the deserted town and there's nothing at first, until slowly the presence of the children is revealed.
And both take place in the heat in the summer. And they both have a scene involving a church, although in the Spanish film it's not emphasized the children are killing because of religion - there is no real reason given, but actual newsreel footage of children suffering because of wars is shown at the beginning, so it is implied the children are fed up with how they have to suffer because of how adults keep fighting each other in wars. In any case it's left up mainly to your imagination, but the newsreel footage has to mean something, otherwise it wasn't put there at the start of the film.

The story was published about a year after the film premiered in Spain, but the film came out a year after the story in the US. So SK could have only seen the film if he had been in Europe when it premiered.

 
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Gerald

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Sep 8, 2011
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The Netherlands
I forgot to say, as you can see in the trailer of the film a scythe is wielded by the children in 'Who can kill a Child?' too. So I think it's almost certain SK was inspired by the film, the scythe giving him the idea for the corn.
 
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Gerald

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Sep 8, 2011
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I listened to the commentary track of 'Who can kill a Child?' and Kat Ellinger, a genre expert who does many commentaries and writes interesting booklets for blu-ray releases, mentions 'Children of the Corn' and how it is very similar. There are also some differences: the children in the Spanish film are still very much children in the sense that they see it all as playing - they giggle and laugh each time they do something horrible. But both in the film and SK's story the children are extremely vicious.
Ellinger also feels 'Children of the Corn' is closer to folk horror than 'Who can kill a Child?', because there is a pagan god ('He who walks behind the rows') in it.
The Spanish film was based on this book - but very different from it:


In the book (which doesn't seem available in English) the reason for the children's behaviour is a yellow powder that has fallen from the sky. In the film it seems the children communicate by telepathy. The film is also a lot like Hitchcock's The Birds, the director of photography says: there is no direct reason given as to why it happens, but suddenly it happens. It's a sort of 'nature strikes back' idea.
And the ending of the film has a lot in common with Night of the Living Dead.