Edgar Allen Poe, The Writer Of Terrorsome Short Stories

2408 words - 10 pages

Edgar Allan Poe, is the author of terrorsome short stories such as: 'The Fall ofthe House of Usher,' 'The Masque of the Red Death,' 'The Pit and the Pendulum,' 'TheTell-Tale Heart,' 'The Black Cat,' 'The Premature Burial,' 'The Imp of the Perverse,''The Cask of Amontillado,' and 'Hop-Frog'. Poe earned his place as a major figure inLiterature for his tales of the bizarre and fantastic (Harris 491). The gruesome plots,suffering protagonists, and Gothic settings stem from Poe's own fears, dreams andfantasies.'Poe lived a brief and tragic life: a life whose legend has often proved anoverpowering influence on the critical reception of his work' (Harris 491). Poe was bornon 1809 in Boston. Poe's mother died on 1811 and his father had abandoned him. Hewas adopted by a family and given the benefits of wealth and education. Poe was agambler, and an intolerant alcoholic, which eventually caused him to be removed fromseveral prestigious schools and caused a hiatus between the family. Poe had a series ofromances during his life but none lasted long. Poe was in constant financial jeopardybecause of bad business decisions he made. His only source of income was the shortstories he wrote.The gruesome plots, suffering protagonists, and Gothic settings in Poe's shortstories are a direct result of Poe's tragic life.'One reason may have been his apparent fear of the dark. Susan Archer TalleyWeiss, who knew Poe in his later years, said that a friend of hers who had gone toschool with Poe spoke of 'his timidity in regard to being alone at night, and hisbelief in and fear of the supernatural. She had heard Poe say, when grown, thatthe most horrible thing he could imagine as a boy was to feel an ice-cold handlaid upon his face in a pitch-dark room when alone at night; or to awaken insemi-darkness and see an evil face gazing close into his own; and that thesefancies had so haunted him that he would often keep his head under the bed-covering until nearly suffocated'' (Peithman 149).Poe personally feared dark, small, and enclosed areas and was fascinated by it. Thus,many of Poe's short stories deal with being entombed alive. Poe was also fascinated byhuman psychology and as a direct result many of his short stories deal with humanpsychology.The gruesome plot of 'The Pit and the Pendulum' is about a man condemned ofheresy during the Spanish Inquisition. It deals with the thoughts and actions of a torturedman. 'Aside from a common theoretical basis, there is a psychological intensity that ischaracteristic of Poe's writings, especially the tales of horrors that comprise his best andbest-known works' (Draper 2750). These stories-which include 'The Pit and thePendulum,' 'The Black Cat,' 'The Tell-Tale Heart,' 'The Cask of Amontillado,' andothers-are often told by a first-person narrator, and through this voice Poe probes theworkings of a character's psyche (Draper 2750). Poe uses an unnamed first-personnarrative in many of his short stories. Poe uses great descriptions which...

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