2017-09-07 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Thinking about the color red during fall


Nicholas Pugliese—Staff Writer Nicholas Pugliese—Staff Writer It’s September, which means it’s Halloween season. Yes, I am one of those people who start thinking about Halloween before a single leaf has turned color and drifted to the ground. My thoughts will be consumed with everything macabre (even more than usual) in the next eight weeks, and today, I’m thinking about the color red.

To transition: I hate doing dishes. And as an adult, I try not to exclusively eat Count Chocula out of red Solo Cups, so eventually the dishes will pile up in the sink.

Someone’s got to do them. So, I do (maybe not as frequently as I ought to, depending on who you ask). I turn on the water, lather up the sponge, and get to work.

I’m almost done. Just one thing left to scrub. The knife. The long, serrated bread knife, flecks of dried tuna sandwich adhered to the stainless steel. I scoop it up with my pruned, non-sponge hand and scour.

But then I hear a noise behind me. I turn my head. It was nothing, just the wind. But I took my eyes off the knife. I can’t trust my hands to stay out of their own way sometimes, and when I look back into the sink, the water is stained red with the blood dribbling out of my finger.

What do I do? The same thing everyone does when they see blood. I stop. For the briefest of seconds, we all stop, stone still and hesitant. It’s never good to see your blood on the outside of your body. You watch for that second the red liquid mixing with the suds, and you stop.

Red. Stop. Why?

There’s a reason we stop at red lights and not powder blue or magenta lights. Red symbolizes danger, and as my blood begins to swirl in the sink, danger is clear. The color scheme for traffic lights has been in place for centuries, dating back to the 1830s, but the concept of red being the color of mortality and danger is a far more ancient one. In the middle ages, a red flag was used to symbolize a town’s intent to fight to the death to defend their land.

Red is a common symbol in horror movies and literature throughout history. From Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death” to The Shining, the color red plays a prominent role in ushering in a sense of danger. Western depictions of the Devil fashion the creature covered in a blazing shade of red, and even in The Sixth Sense, red plays a major symbolic role, warning the main character of impending ghosts.

Next time you read a horror novel or watch a horror movie, keep a keen eye, and be wary of what the colors might be trying to tell you. You never know if you’re in danger.

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