This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Edgar Allan Poe And The Search For The American Identity

1674 words - 7 pages

"From the first day that the United States won its independance, thoughtful Americans have attempted to define the new national identity" that decolonization invited. Becoming an independant political nation forced citizens to suddenly devise a "community and character" (Finkelman, 63) worthy of this newborn America. It was believed that, once free from Birtish fetters, a unique American character would emerge automatically. But this was not so, and it was left up to the artits, politictians, scientists, businessmen and women, and every other citizen to contrive the American identity. Those who were most accomplished at scrutinizing the American identity and what it was, were the many authors and writers of the 19th century.
One of the writers struggling to supply the "demand for American characters and American themes" (Milne, 145) was Edgar Allan Poe, born in 1809. Poe lived in many cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. He is most famous for his detective and horror stories, and inside these prominent tales lay the elucidation of the American identity. In his stories, Poe pursues the clarification and communication of the transition from an European based society towards a unique American disposition by creating a double consiousness, one representing European values and the other American values. [journey showing from euro to transition to american readers acan clearly see the struggel in poes writings or hw he transitions from euro tp american voice]
Before and after independance, Americans relied heavily on the British and their influences. These influences, such as the values and morals of Victorian society, could be seen in the northern cities as well as the southern argicultural communities. Those who first colonized the Americas were mostly British nobles, who brought with them not only their posessions, but also their manner of being. This manner includes the European drive for a higher position in society, a need to act properly and respectfully.
Before the industrial revolution began to grab hold of America, the upper class ruled the cities and major towns. This upper class thrived on being just like their British ancestors, and with family money, they were able to buy the most expensive clothes and homes to appear better than the rest of society. The slowly developing middle-class wished to be like these social elitists "and felt that acting 'properly,' according to the conventions and values of the time, was an important step in that direction" (Kirschen). These middle-class heroes earned their wealth through the new business industry emerging in America, eventually prevailing over the increasingly unpopular aristocratic traditions.
But those in the South continued to clutch the "European standards of aristocracy and inherited wealth" (Moss, 108). These people believed that if they were fashionable, they would be defined as the most privledged class in America (Moss, 106). This led to an increased...

Find Another Essay On Edgar Allan Poe and the Search for the American Identity

American Individualism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper and The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe

1018 words - 5 pages Littell, 2006. 766-78. Print. Poe, Edgar A. "The Raven." The Language of Literature. Ed. Arthur N. Applebee. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 2006. 467-70. Print. Andre, Claire, and Manuel Velasquez. "American Society and Individualism." American Society and Individualism. Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.

English Rendition for "The Oblong Box" by Edgar Allan Poe

1662 words - 7 pages moved to the city after she wed her husband.I didn't know what to expect. I was used to traveling with my maid Harriet, but she was staying in Charleston to care for my mother. On the 14th, I went on board of the Independence to settle my rooming issues. I was absolutely delighted to find that there were many more ladies traveling than my father had said! Finally! More women to meet and spend the sail with. My state-room was to be across the hall

The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

2062 words - 8 pages In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Pit and the Pendulum,” written 1843, and “using the anguish of imminent death as the means of causing the nerves to quiver” (Edgar Allan Poe, 2015), he takes the reader into the mind of a man who is tortured by various means by some unknown person or persons for reasons that are not given. The themes of death and time are portrayed strongly in this story and produce a sense of anxiety and uncertainty

The Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe

4159 words - 17 pages fond of his foster mother, Fanny Allan, but because she was sick all the time, she was much less than the ideal mother. At one occasion it is know that he called his sister Rosalie's foster mother "ma". At the age of fourteen he became infatuated with Mrs. Jane Stanard, the mother of one of his classmates. He went to her when he felt unhappy, and she somehow resembled both Fanny Allan and Eliza Poe. Edgar had only known her for about a year when

The Raven and The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe

1945 words - 8 pages “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,” (“The Raven” 1). “The Raven” arguably one of the most famous poems by Edgar Allan Poe, is a narrative about a depressed man longing for his lost love. Confronted by a talking raven, the man slowly loses his sanity. “The Haunted Palace” a ballad by Poe is a brilliant and skillfully crafted metaphor that compares a palace to a human skull and mind. A palace of opulence slowly

Creative and Unique Writing: The Life of Edgar Allan Poe

1220 words - 5 pages it is because he had seen many deaths in his family. Poe was a deep author who was passionate about his writing and from the day he started writing he changed American literature and will continue to do that for future generations to come. Works Cited “A Most and Illustrated History of the Sad Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe.” Coopertoons. Web. 29 Mar 2014 Carlson, Eric W. “Edgar Allan Poe.”Web. 25 Mar 2014 “Edgar Allan Poe National

The Mysteries of Edgar Allan Poe

857 words - 4 pages Edgar Allan Poe has been remembered by many historians to be one of the first American writers to have a big impact on world literature. He was remembered by the French Symbolists at the time as a “Literary Precursor”, and is known for his dark and mysterious poems. However, one of the great mysteries that still lies within Edgar Allan Poe's life is his death, as nobody knows how he really died. Struggling through lifelong depression, Edgar

The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe

2089 words - 8 pages creativity, this is when he wrote his best material (E. A. Poe Society of Baltimore Inc. "Poe, Drugs and Alcohol" 1). Poe's sad and troubled life gave him the material he needed to create stories and poems that would capture his audience. Though Poe lived a hard life and was criticized by many for being evil and demonic, his stories and poems are still with us today as some of the greatest American literature ever published. Edgar Allan Poe's life

The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe

852 words - 3 pages past, Edgar Allan Poe is acknowledged as one of the most brilliant and original writers in American Literature:"Poe was born a poet, his mind is stamped with the impress of genius. He is, perhaps, the most original writer that ever existed in America. Delighting in the wild and visionary, his mind penetrates the inmost recesses of the human soul, creating vast and magnificent dreams, eloquent fancies and terrible mysteries. Again, he indulges in a

The Captivating Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe

1548 words - 6 pages and movies that will continue for centuries to come. The timeless relevance of his work, and its merciless look into the human condition, solidifies its place in history and its position of high admiration. In conclusion, the extraordinary-fleeting-tragic life of Edgar Allan Poe will forever remain in American history, as the tale of a gentleman, a soldier, an orphan, and one of the most prominent literary figures in American history

The Life and Work of Edgar Allan Poe

863 words - 3 pages Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents who were traveling actors. His father David Poe Jr. died probably in 1810. Elizabeth Hopkins Poe died in 1811, leaving three children. Edgar was taken into the home of a merchant from Richmond named John Allan. The remaining children were cared for by others. Poe's brother William died young and sister Rosalie later became insane. At the age of five Poe could recite passages of

Similar Essays

The Romantic Period And Edgar Allan Poe

559 words - 2 pages his masterpiece. This story is "saturated with elements which refer to the sensorial world . . . . [and] nonverbal signs . . ."(Anspach, Silvia Simone. "Poe's Pictoric Writing." Estudos Anglo-Americanos 9-11 1985-1987: 17-28.) In “Annabel Lee”, Edgar Allan Poe, like in many of his stories, describes the death of a beautiful woman. He describes for the reader that the love of him and Annabel Lee was so strong, that the angels in Heaven envied

Edgar Allan Poe And The Horror Story

1872 words - 7 pages “’Villains!’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more! I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! here, here! - It is the beating of his hideous heart!’”(Poe). Edgar Allan Poe, a brilliant writer and poet, is well known for his creation of the horror short story and mystery novel. He has written suspenseful short-stories such as “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” where in both stories it has the reader on edge till the very end. For example, “The Tell-Tale

The Peculiar Edgar Allan Poe Essay

1147 words - 5 pages what all human beings wish to do, defeat the ticking of the clock that makes one’s inevitable movement toward death” (May 3). This was one of the short stories that convinced a majority of people that Edgar Allan Poe was surely insane; just like the quote mentions, “Poe’s elaborate pattern of psychological obsession and displacement.” Although Poe demands he isn't mad, for someone to be able to construct a story like this, putting himself in the

The Fascinating Edgar Allan Poe Essay

1517 words - 7 pages himself. Poe’s frightening stories acts as helpful inspiration for entertainment in the present, and for many years to come. The timeless relevance of his work, and its merciless scrutiny of the human condition, solidifies its place in history and its position of high admiration. In conclusion, the extraordinary-fleeting-tragic life of Edgar Allan Poe will forever remain on record as the tale of an orphan, a gentleman, a soldier, and one of the most prominent literary figures in American history.