Two Types of Antinomy
This chapter identifies, through consideration of a number of fantastic narratives, the various ways in which the reader is confronted with the antinomy between the natural and the supernatural. In “La Main”, the narrator creates a contradiction by describing an inexplicable event and at the same time discarding the supernatural, which is the only satisfactory explanation. The fact that he tries to explain the crime rationally renders his explicit belief in the exclusive validity of the natural redundant. The expression of this belief merely reinforces the antinomy. The contradiction between the testimony of the old man and Angel’s explanation is easily explained at this point in the story. But the antinomy between the natural and the supernatural is reestablished at the end by the same reliable narrator who had discarded the possibility of the supernatural throughout the first part of the story.