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Edgar Allan Poe

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Kiara Dietze

on 6 April 2015

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Transcript of Edgar Allan Poe

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809.

Mother passed away when he was only three and his father had left the family early on.

Adopted unofficially by John, a tobacco exporter, and Frances Allan

Lived in Richmond, Virginia.
Sent to a boarding school and then later to the University of Virginia
Early Life
The Mysterious Death
Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, was now a widow so Poe began to court her again.

Poe traveled to Philadelphia , but stopped in Baltimore and disappeared for 5 days.

Poe was found in a bar, and had died on October 7, 1849 at the age of 40. His death still remains a mystery.

Poe's literary rival, Rufus Griswold, wrote an obituary for Poe

Portrayed Poe as a drunkard, womanizing madman with no friends or morals.
Interesting Facts
After Poe's father left the family, he supposedly died just two days later.
Since Poe wasn't on the greatest terms with his biological or adopted father, Poe enlisted in the army as Edgar A. Perry, but assumed both surnames when becoming an author. Poe went by Edgar A. Poe or E. A. Poe however still in spite of his adopted father.
Poe loved cats and often wrote with a cat on his shoulder.
Poe originally chose a parrot for his poem rather than a raven but soon changed it as he thought it didn't evoke the right tone.
Poe is credited for the creation of the short story.
His masterpiece “The Raven“ made Poe a well-known author almost overnight. There are stories of children walking behind him on the street and flapping their arms and cawing. He would play along by turning suddenly and saying "Nevermore."
The Baltimore Ravens are named after the poem.
The Beginning of Poe's Career
After leaving the military academy, Poe put all his focus into writing.

Was an editor for many magazines and journals he published his only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

Left editing in 1837.

1845: published The Raven.

Created many lasting poems and short stories such as, The Black Cat, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, Tell-Tale Heart, The Man Of The Crowd, The Pit and The Pendulum, and many others.
Poet and writer
Edgar Allan Poe
"There is no exquisite beauty... without some strangeness..." Edgar Allan Poe (Ligeia)
Had been engaged to his neighbour Sarah Elmira Royster,
She became engaged to someone else.
Po was heartbroken and left the Allans.

1827: moved back to Boston and enrolled in the United States Army.
First poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems, were published.
Released more poems but none of these poems gained significant public attention.

Admitted to the United States Military Academy

Left due to lack of financial support and inability to complete duties.

1835: became the editor in Richmond.

1836: moved in with his Aunt and cousin, Virginia.

Continued to edit literary magazines and journals.

Poe established himself as a poet and short story writer.
Had a good relationship with Frances but he and John never truly got along.

Preferred poetry over work

"Edgar Allan Poe." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2015.

"Edgar Allan Poe." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

"Edgar Allan Poe." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

(The Raven)
(The Man Of The Crowd)
(The Raven)
The Beginning of Poe's Career
Poe faced poverty many times and his wife, Virginia, contracted Tuberculosis.

Poe's wife's inspired many of his works.

Poe wrote The Conqueror Worm; this poem graphically describes the decay of the human body after death.

After her death, Poe wrote The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit And The Pendulum. The poem Annabel Lee was written about Virginia and it remains one of the saddest poems in history.
Was forced to leave the University of Virginia after a year

Gambling to cover the cost of education

Allan's refused to pay the cost of debt.

The Tell-Tale Heart:
The story beings with an introduction entailing the extent of what is believed to be the madness of the narrator (most likely being Edgar Allan Poe himself). Continuing along the organization of the short story, the narrator begins to give insight into the creation of an idea that is the plot of this story. The narrator lives with his father who has a cataract or is blind in one eye. This eye terrifies the narrator to such an extent that he plans to kill the old man to rid him of the horrors. Each night the narrator slowly opens the door to the old man's room and opens the door of a lantern and shines the light onto the man's eye. During the scenes where this occurs, Poe uses longer sentences to force the reader to feel the same slow movements in the story.

All throughout the story Poe intentionally adds parts where the narrator defends their sanity as a link to the "real world" where many people accused Poe of being insane. As the plot continues, during the day, the narrator speaks lightly towards the old man in short sentences, but on the eighth night when the narrator opens the door to the old man's room, the narrator makes too much noise and wakes up the narrator. Because the old man is so startled, he attempts to make himself feel like nothing is wrong, but the old man's heart begins to beat faster and louder as time passes. Poe uses repetitive exclamatory sentences to convey that the beating of the old man's heart is driving the narrator to insanity.
Eventually the sound of the old man's heart grows too loud so the narrator kills the old man in order to stop the neighbours from hearing anything. Later in the night four policemen come to the door inquiring about the old man as they got a report from a neighbour that they heard a scream in the night. The narrator invites the policemen into the house and implore them to look well around in the house to see if they can find anything. After awhile the policemen decide there is nothing to find in the house, but stay for a drink and talk amongst each other.
The narrator begins to hear the heart of the old man beating once again, and Poe uses the same short, repetitive, and exclamatory sentences as before to repeat the insanity of the narrator. Not long after, the narrator decides he can not stand the incessant beating of the old man's heart and the cruel mockery of the policemen seemingly ignoring the beating to drive the narrator into further insanity, and the narrator rips up the floorboards to reveal that he murdered the old man and buried him under the boards.
The Cask of Amontillado:
The story begins with an introduction describing that if the narrator were ever to be threatened, he would avenge himself with any means possible. The narrator meets with a man named Fortunato who has great knowledge of wine. When the narrator exclaims he is in the possession of some Amontillado sherry, Fortunato is ecstatic and demands to see it.
The narrator is apprehensive against bringing Fortunato into the wine cellar which is also an old set of catacombs that is filled with Potassium Nitrate that will make Forunato's ailing cough worse. However, Forunato is set on seeing the Amontillado and ignores the precautions. As the two characters make their way to the back of the cellar, where the sherry is presumably stored, the narrator offers Forunato many drinks.

By the time the two reach the back of the catacombs, Fortunato is severely intoxicated to the point where he does not put up a fight when the narrator chains him to the wall. The narrator leaves that section of the catacombs to wall up Fortunato in the room. Halfway through placing the bricks to seal the way, Fortunato begins to sober up again and starts to shout and beg the narrator to let him out of the chains. The narrator ignores these cries of helps and continues to close the wall that separates Fortunato and his freedom.
Poe's sentence structure through this short story contains mostly dialogue which are mostly made up of repetitive exclamatory remarks. Most of this dialogue also includes questions asked by Fortunato which are answered by the narrator with the exact words formatted into an answer.
The Fall of the House of Usher:
Poe begins this short story by having the narrator immediately arriving at the House of Usher which he describes as the feeling of coming off of opium and having to face the harsh reality of life. The narrator meets with his childhood friend, Roderick Usher, and finds that Roderick's sister, Madeline, is gravely ill to a disease that no doctor can place or cure.
The narrator tries to distract Usher from his dying sister by painting and reading with him. The narrator tells a poem to Usher in which every beautiful thing turns grotesque. Usher begins to loose sanity as he starts to tell the narrator that everything is sentient and has feeling. Madeline dies not soon after this and instead of burying her immediately, Usher decides to place her in a vault for a few days before finally burying her. They place her into one of the castle's towers that was previously used for gun storage and, during the times of war, was used as a torture chamber.

Madeline died smiling, but it was no ordinary, peaceful smile, but instead was off-putting and creepy. The narrator notices that Roderick and Madeline look very alike Roderick confides that they're twins. Usher goes into a deep depression in the days that follow and the narrator begins to be affected by Usher's madness. One night the narrator hears steps and moans outside his door finds Usher, who has now gone completely insane.
Usher rips open the windows and shows the narrator unnatural lights shining in the distance. The narrator attempts to calm Usher down by reading his the "Mad Trist" where sounds from the book are paralleled in the real world. Usher starts murmuring and begins to think that the two of them buried Madeline alive, and suddenly states that she is standing outside the door. Madeline, covered in blood, breaks open the door and falls on her brother killing him.
The narrator leaves the house after this and sees the small crack he saw when he first arrived expand into a much larger one that splits the house into two where it then falls apart into the lake. The introduction of this story sets the scene and tone for the rest of the story implying that the area is vacant and there's something wrong with the house that the narrator cannot put into words.
Important diction:
(Vulture, Evil Eye, Hideous, Veil) All connote the idea that old man's eye was so horrendous that the narrator's actions of killing the old man are justified. All of these words are used in paragraphs in which the narrator defends his sanity by blaming his actions on the old man's eye.
(Cleverly, Cunningly) These words are strictly used for defending the narrator's sanity. In opposition to the previous group of words, the narrator outward defends his sanity by setting asides small parts of text to directly state his point.
(Terror, Darkness) These words are used directly before the killing of the old man takes place and connote the shear fear that is occurring in the old man's mind. This gives yet another insight into the emotions that go on in the story.
Important Diction:
(Revenge, Avenge) Both of these words were said at the beginning of the short story and were meant to give foreshadowing to the death of the character that would inflict any kind of action that could possibly result in either of these from the narrator.
(Quack, Virtuoso) These words are used to describe Fortunato. Virtuoso has a kind connotation meaning that he is good at what does, but is followed with a juxtaposition when the narrator calls Fortunato a quack, implying that Fortunato, in reality, has no extensive knowledge in the matter of which he speaks.
Analysis of the Author's Style:
Important Diction:
(Decayed, Insufferable, Malady) These words connote the idea of intolerable acts or the action of falling apart. This gives foreshadowing to the plot by keying in that the ordeal and the family will fall apart at the end.
(Phantasm, Sentience) The juxtaposition of these two words gives insight to the madness of Roderick Usher. One is an allusion or apparition while the other is a more tangible idea that gives feeling.
In paragraphs that entail the amount of caution used by the narrator, sentences become drastically longer than sentences in which time passes faster. The repetition and sentence structure of the beating heart gives insight to the insanity of the narrator.
The tones of this short story are the aggravation that occurs in the narrator's mind in response to the old man's eye, and defense against the idea that he is, in fact, mad.
Significant Devices:
Detail is significant in this story because it gives a greater setting to the story rather than a plain, cut-and-dry version. Polysyndenton and asyndenton are also very important for changing the pace of the story.
Thematic Statement:
The Tell-Tale Heart
, Edgar Allan Poe presents the idea that aggravation is the key to madness by employing details, polysyndenton, and asyndenton.
Most sentences were short, dialogue with exclamatory remarks or simply questions paired with answers. However, in description paragraphs, where was no real pattern to the length of the sentences that could possible affect the tone of the story.
The tone of the story is revenge and irrational anger towards Fortunato.
Significant Devices:
Irony is used to juxtapose the idea that Forunato is knowledgeable in wine when the line "Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry" is used because it shows that he in fact does not know that Amontillado is a type of sherry.
Thematic Statement:
The Cask of Amontillado
, Edgar Allan Poe presents the idea that revenge is usually a result of irrational anger by employing literary devices such as irony and diction.
The length of the sentences provides the reader with a sort of speed limit. It slows the reader down when parts become more dramatic or when Poe wants the reader to change their pace in order to mirror the feelings of the character.
Fear is the main tone of this story as it the fear in Usher's mind that causes his own demise.
Significant Devices:
Detail was the main aspect in this story. Every single part of the story was greatly expanded on.
Thematic Statement:
The Fall of the House of Usher
, Edgar Allan Poe presents the idea that the fear within a person causes their own demise by employing detail.
Similarities in Diction:
The diction with all of these stories is dark and includes very intricate words. Poe uses long and advances wording for all of his stories and chooses words that invoke emotion within his own readers making them feel similar to his characters.
Differences in Diction:
Depending on each story, the type of word choice changes. For example, in
The Fall of the House of Usher
, very supernatural diction is used in order to convey the type of madness Poe chose to match this story.
Similarities in Syntax:
Syntax for all of Poe's stories involved sentence structure that changes in order to make the reader feel as though they were falling through the decent of madness with Poe's characters.
Differences in Syntax:
Poe's use of syntax changed within the stories when the climax of the stories arrives, some stories would have the sentences become shorter or some would become longer.
Similarities in Organization:
All the stories had an introduction giving insight to the story and providing the reader with foreshadowing to the rest of the story.
Differences in Organization:
The Tell-Tale Heart
, there were multiple mini-climaxes in the story, while in
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Cask of Amontillado
there was only a single climax at the end of the story.
Similarities in Tone:
Each of the tones in the stories represented a character's personal vendetta that is played out during the story.
Differences in Tone:
Each tone was a separate struggle a character was dealing with in the story.
Similarities in Theme:
Each story involved a death and the placement of the deceased body within the walls or floors of a building.
Differences in Theme:
Each story, although the narrator seemed to stay as the same person, changed involvement with the external characters.
Similar vs. Different:
All of these stories seemed closely related to me and all involved similar deaths. The approach Poe takes to involve his readers in the slow decent into madness that afflicts the characters in the story is what sets Poe asside from other authors that write in a similar style.
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