The Fear of Uncertainty Essay Example: Depicted in Literature

Imagine your heartbeat fastens though you don’t know why and you begin to feel fear.  Then grim reality hits you and you hear a sound approaching you step by step until it hits you can’t see or feel what’s there but you know it sees you. Uncertainty is a persuasive emotion that can overtake a person’s thoughts/emotions when not understanding why and turn them into fear affecting someone mentally, physically, and making scenarios seem worse than they are. 

‘House Taken Over’ 

Sometimes when someone doesn’t understand what’s occurring someone can take it out of proportion. In the story ‘House Taken Over’ by Julio Cortázar, it tells a story about two siblings, a boy and his sister ‘Irene’ who live alone in a mansion, and they later leave a side of the house due to the eruption of sounds heard by the brother. Later on, the boy hears the sound seem to get louder and approaches them by the second, and they finally decide to give in to the sound and abandon the whole home and walk away. “I took Irene around the wrist (I remember she was crying) and that was how we went into the street before we left I felt terrible; I locked the front door up tight and tossed the key and thought it wouldn’t do to have some poor devil decide to go in and rob the house and with the house taken over” (Cortázar 42).

The kids decided to leave the house as well as their belongings due to the uncertainty of having someone or something rooming around the house and approaching them step by step as the characters can only hear the muffled and footsteps of the unknown being. The thought of not being able to imagine what was in their home was too powerful for them to handle, they caved in and gave up everything to the darkness and decided to run away.

‘Where Is Here?’ 

Other times someone may be affected mentally by someone who they don’t know and their thoughts and how they interact with them. In ‘Where Is Here?’ By Joyce Carol Oates, it tells a story about a family on a normal day get a knock at the door which is not normal for them to receive and it's the original owner of the house who asked them if he could check the house out for old times sake, and they agree. Later on in the passage, they essentially learn everything about the original owner and his life in the house but the family wants him to leave and try to tell him to leave with looks and excuses, but he fails to notice until the father tells him the tour is over and kicks him out.

The father still mad hurts the wife by pulling his arm away from her which gives her a bruise, and she cries in the end due to feeling bad for the original owner. “Without seeming to know what he did the father violently jerked his arm and thrust her away” (Oates pg 76). The father let his anger caused by his lack of knowledge of the original owner get to him and cause him to change from his usual self and create thoughts of anger and hurt those close to him.

‘The Fall of the House of Usher’

Finally, a person can be affected physically which can cause them the most pain by causing them to become weak and physically/mentally sick. In ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ it tells a story about a narrator who received a message from a longtime friend who he hasn’t spoken to in a long while but decides to visit him and when he gets there he can tell that his friend Usher is both mentally/physically sick, and he tells the narrator that he knows his time is almost up. Later on in the story, the narrator learns more about his friend who tells him that he has a sister though she later dies, and they bury her into a tomb and lock her up and during the end, Usher tells the narrator he’s seen shadows move in his house almost like a person jumping around.

He explains to the narrator that he’s heard sounds from his supposedly dead sister's tomb for days who came back and ends up causing Usher to suffer from fear and dies from it afterward his home comes down and the narrator is the only one to survive. “I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin. I heard them-many, many days ago-yet I dared not-I dared not speak!” (Poe pg 29). Usher let the thought of dying due to fear get to him which caused his body and health to deteriorate as well as cause his loved ones to suffer and become as sick as he became. He didn’t listen to his thoughts or common sense which caused his downfall from grace and led to his untimely death.


In conclusion, Uncertainty is multiple subjects such as thoughts, emotions, and feelings which can cause multiple reactions in anyone and everyone. It has the power to change people’s mentality and bodies from healthy to sick or sick to healthy. Uncertainty can cause the downfall of a person but some people have the power to take the uncertainty and change it to knowledge and grow as a person. In the end, fear doesn’t create uncertainty but uncertainty creates fear in people.



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