Poe Contrasted with Society
The writing style of Edgar Allan Poe can be compared and contrasted to modern society in many ways. For instance, "Ed" often wrote about psychopathic (or psychotic) killers who would bury people in walls, as in "The Cask of Amontillado" (1) and in "The Black Cat" (2). One can read about this kind of thing actually happening today by reading the daily newspaper. But then, Poe's style can also be contrasted with today's society. It's not very often that a raven or any other bird for that matter enters some guy's room and says only one word to him before going and sitting on a bust above his doorway (3). But chances are that Poe didn't mean for this poem he wrote to be taken literally. At least, one wouldn't think that he meant it to be taken that way. One can never be too sure when one is dealing with a guy who married his fourteen year old cousin. But that is beside the point. The point is that although times and scenery have changed, Poe's works can still be related to society today.
One way in which Poe's works can be related to society today is his description of the characters. An example of this can be found in Poe's short story "The Black Cat."(2) In this story, the narrator starts out remembering a time when he was considered a "normal" person. Gradually, due to his alcoholism, he becomes less concerned with those around him, more irritable, more moody. Just as he described so many years ago, people today, like the narrator in the story, drink alcohol and become irrational in thoughts and actions. Eventually when the narrator tries to kill his cat, his wife stops him and he buries an axe in her head. Fortunately, one doesn't hear about this kind of murder all that often. But people often do stupid things due to alcoholism, like drunk driving (although not all drunk driving is caused by alcoholism). This is one of the ways that Poe's works relate to society.
Another way that Poe's work compares to the society of today by the characterization is found in the poem, "The Raven."(3) In this poem, the narrator hears a sound which he thinks at first is coming from the door. When people are frightened, they tend to try to come up with rational explanations for what is going on around them. This is exactly what the narrator was trying to do. Also, having convinced himself that the sound was coming from the door, he tries to rationalize his reason for not answering it when the knocking first started. These kinds of behavior can be found in people of any time period, not just the one that Poe wrote about. And there's more. Take a look in the next paragraph.
Yet another way in which Poe's writings compares to society today is again the people that he writes about, and the way he paints the picture of their characters. In "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor, the main character, turns out to be a cold-hearted killer who feels no remorse after walling his friend up deep in the basement (1). Although...