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Autobiographical Elements In The Works Of Edgar Allan Poe

1507 words - 6 pages

'There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in theproportions' (Biography on Poe 8). Edgar Alan Poe endured a very difficultlife and this is evident in his literary style. He was once titled the 'master ofthe macabre.' One of the aspects in his life with which he struggled wassocial isolation. He used this as a topic in a number of poems and shortstories. Poe's life was also filled with periods of fear and irrationality. Hehad a very sensitive side when it came to the female gender, any woman hewas ever close to died at an early age. Another of his major battles, actuallythe only one he really lost, was his struggle with alcoholism. Of all thesetopics, Poe's favorites were the death of a beautiful woman, a feeling whichhe knew all too well, and the general topic of death.During Poe's life, he experienced extreme social isolation. Thesefeelings of separation began when his father died or disappeared around thetime of the birth of Poe's sister, Rosalie. The family then moved and he wasseparated from his older brother, who was left with relatives in Baltimore.During those toddler years, Poe found his mother in the last stages oftuberculosis. Upon her death, he was then separated from his younger sister,Rosalie. Another major low point in his life was the death of his fostermother, Mrs. Frances Allan, and his foster father disowning him, all at onetime. The most significant set-back to Edgar Allan Poe was the death of hiscousin/wife Virginia Clemm. This single incident was the cause of almost allof his feelings of isolation in his in his adulthood. He felt as though anyonehe became close to would die.Poe wrote about isolation in many of his most popular works. 'A DreamWithin a Dream' was not one of his more popular poems, but it discussed thedifficult process of having to say good-bye to a loved one. He also wrote,'The Raven,' in which the narrator went insane talking to a bird about losinghis lost Lenore and realizing he was all alone. A third poem in which Poerevealed to the reader his feelings of loneliness was, The Cask ofAmontillado. In this story, the main character Fortunato, was left to die in atomb after being tricked by his love's father. Lastly, the poem, 'Silence,'strongly suggested that he felt alone in the world, and was longing forcompanionship.Suffering through several periods of fear and irrationality during his life,Poe included those experiences in many of his more famous works. One ofthese periods involved experiences in joining the army in order to get awayfrom his foster father after the death of his foster mother. Another of thesetimes was his dismissal from the army which was actually on purpose; hemissed all of his drills and was asked to leave immediately. These periods offear and irrationality were the cause of his misfortune and poor social status.He was looked down upon by his peers for these episodes.' A constant theme of Edgar Allan Poe was madness' ('Short Stories,'1995, p. 1). Poe expressed this theme...

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