Edgar Allan Poe Essays

Man in the Crowd

The epigraph at the beginning of “The Man in the Crowd” brings up the interesting question of what it really means to be alone. While the actual definition of alone is “quite by oneself, unaccompanied, solitary,” (“Alone”) the story, through the narrator’s thoughts and the observations of the nameless man in the crowd, can serve as a different perspective on being alone if applied beyond the situation in the tale. The epigraph says how terrible it is to never be…

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A Double Edged Sword Cuts Both Ways

The phrase “a doubled edged sword cuts both ways” means that something has both beneficial and adverse outcomes. The comparison is made to a double-edged sword because it allowed the wielder of the sword to slash on the backswing without having to pivot the weapon in their hand, but it also allowed the wielder to cut themselves on the backswing. The actual origin of the phrase is unknown, but the earliest mentions of it can be found in the Bible….

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The Fall of the House of Usher; More Then Meets the Eye

The Fall of the House of Usher written by Edgar Allen Poe was written in 1839, as the age of enlightenment and reason were on the rise. It is a horror gothic story, with an atmosphere of evil, as well as a sublime that overwhelmed the reader with fear. The Fall of the House of Usher is not only a dark romantic, written with a great deal attention to imagery, enhancing the parallelism and symbolism that arises as a correlation…

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Edgar Allan Poe and His Romanticism

According to Thompson (1970), “romanticism is a far-reaching but crucial modern period applied to the philosophical shift within Western mind-set to human and art creativity that conquered much of the American culture during the initial part of the 19th century, and that has fashioned most ensuing progress in literature, even those against it” (Thompson, 1970, p. 31). Romanticism illustrates strong, intense and wondrous deal of emotions which demonstrate an attraction for nature, mankind and supernatural that fuels extreme consequences on…

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The Oval Portrait and the Birthmark_ an Insight to an Era

Documents, records locked away in vaults, and history books are all excellent way to learn about the past.  These are all ways that facts can be found, but that is only part of what can be discovered about past.  Literature gives an insight into the culture of the times that facts and figures cannot do.  The stories of any society reflect the attitudes and issues of concern that were on the minds of the people of the time, and The…

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The 18th Century’s Gothic Literature

In the 18th century, gothic literature was originally written as a response to the age of reason and the politics of England. Gothic literature containing anti-Catholic sentiments and mythical aspects, explored the tension between what is feared and what is desired. The stories were usually set in some kind of castle or old building that portrayed human decay and created an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. Frequently, one of the main characters would be some sort of damsel in distress,…

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_the Black Cat_ and _the Tell Tale Heart_

Edgar Allen Poe is a world renowned master of gothic literature. Poe wrote, “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” two of the most horrific short story masterpieces. Both stories are written in a gothic style and share elements of murder and insanity. Despite the many similarities, digging deeper into the true meaning reveals many differences. The settings and characters of “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” seem different, but in reality they are alike. On the surface, both…

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Gothic Themes in Edgar Allen Poe’s _the Tell Tale Heart_

In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Edgar Allan Poe revolves the story around a raving individual and the object in which he obsesses over. This theme of insanity is progressed throughout the entire story by Poe’s style of gothic writing. Gothic-style writing is defined by using these elements: abnormal psychological behavior, creating a gloomy or threatening atmosphere, connections between the setting and its characters’ thought processes or behavior, and supernatural components. Poe’s usage of these gothic elements builds up the central theme…

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The Functions of Symbolism in Literature

The Functions of Symbolism in Literature In literature, almost all writers like using symbols to extend meaning beyond the prosaic. A symbol is a figure of speech in which an object, person or situation represent something in addition to its literal meaning. Many writers—in fact, most or all authors of fiction—make the symbolic use of concepts and objects as rhetorical devices central to the meaning of their works. Cisneros, O’Connor, and Poe, for example, used symbolism extensively, to suggest different…

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The Black Cat by Edar Allan Poe

The Black Cat is told from the perspective of a man (whom I imagine as Poe himself), who is a self- pronounced animal lover. The man and his wife have many pets, including a black cat named Pluto, who is very fond of the narrator. The cat and the narrator continue to have a close friendship until the man becomes an alcoholic. Coming home after having drunk, the narrator thinks the cat is avoiding him so he seizes it and…

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Unmasking the Meaning

In, “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe, Prince Prospero believes he has the ability to escape the inevitable plague through the use of his social and economic power. After encountering a “masked figure” of the Red Death, Prince Prospero falls into rage of the mysterious man who interrupts his masquerade. Because of his reckless and foolish acts, Prince Prospero and the guests of his masquerade fall into the hands of death. Poe creates a passage describing…

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The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

In all literature, and more specifically in essays or short stories there are a large number of literally elements used. The six most consistent ones are characters, plot, setting, symbols, point-of-view, and purpose. All of these together combine to create a vast number of novels, essays, and short stories that we all know today. Some of the best well-known stories are Hills like White Elephants by Hemmingway, Why we Crave Horror Movies by King, The Yellow Wallpaper by Gilman, and…

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Cask of Amontillado_ Wrongfully Accused_

Do you believe Montresor is crazy? Well unlike most people, I believe that he is perfectly sane. After reading the story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe I have decided that Montresor is sane. He can’t possibly be insane! First, to decide if he’s “insane” we need to know the true definition of insane. The term Insanity is used when someone repeats the same actions over and over again but expecting different results every time. Montresor killed Fortunado…

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The Pit and the Pendulum

There are some stories, where the objects that are described or portrayed play a more important part of the story than what we believed. In The Pit and the Pendulum, a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe there is certain symbolism that adds meaning to the story. The narrator is telling the story from a dungeon in Toledo, Spain as a prisoner during the Spanish Inquisition. In the story, there are certain objects that have important symbolism for the…

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Study Guide for Plot

What I need to know about character: 1. Characterization is the means by which a writer reveals a character to a reader, including appearance, speech and behavior, thoughts and feelings, and other characters’ reactions and opinions. 2. There are four main elements of characterization. These include: a. How a character looks b. How a character acts c. How other characters react to this character d. What the character thinks and feels 3. Strong literary descriptions provide readers with the important…

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