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The Premature Burial

Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Premature Burial".
by

Katie Gaumer

on 22 December 2010

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Transcript of The Premature Burial

Click anywhere & add an idea The Premature Burial By: Edgar Allan Poe Summary The most terrifying event that can happen to someone is to be buried alive. It's happened many times due to mysterious diseases that make someone appear lifeless. Records exist of people being buried alive, sending our narrator into a frenzy of fear.
Premature burial can happen to anyone, but our narrator feels exceptionally fearful because he suffers from catalepsy. When the narrator enters a cataleptic trance he cannot move or think, but is aware of his surroundings. The illness doesn't affect his physical health, but he sometimes goes into a state of confusion and lacks mental abliities. He eventually becomes obsessed with his fear of being buried alive, thinking only of tombs, worms and tomb monuments. The narrator takes drastic measures to keep himself alive by redesigning his family vault and attatching a bell to his coffin to alert others of his survival. One morning, the narrator wakes up to find his greatest fear come to life. He is trapped into what seems to be a coffin and the first thing he smells is earth. Realizing that he is not in his family vault, he concludes that he must've suffered a cataleptic fit and was buried in the ground. He feels a shaking sensation and awakens on a boat with his friend, only to find that it was just a dream. A storm had occured and he slept in a wooden room, which he thought was a coffin. The earth smell had come from cargo on the ship. From then on he becomes a new man and avoides morbid thoughts and excercises his new happiness. His catalepsy seems to mysteriously disappear. Motifs
In The Premature Burial, Poe
uses six motifs. Unnamed narrator,
premature burial, vortex, dreaming,
two sides of oneself, and madness/insainity. Unnamed Narrator: The narrator is the main
character throughout the story. He tells the story from his point of veiw and never reveals his name. He is a depressing character that is obsessed with his fear of being buried alive. Premature Burial: During the story, the
narrator describes events
where people are mistaken
for death, but actually alive.
They are then buried alive,
sometimes escaping, but not always. As the story continues thee narrator reveals that this
is his biggest fear and keeps
him from living his life. Vortex Without realizing it, the narrator falls asleep. When he supposedly awakens he finds himself inside a coffin, buried in the earth. Some events play out and it appears that he's been transporting into a different reality where he is trapped with no escape. Creating a vortex. Dreaming: At the end of the story, the narrator wakes up and assumes he's trapped inside a coffin. He smells earth and immediately believes that he's underground. He panics and reaches for his bell, but realizes that he's not in his family vault. Someone starts shaking him and he wakes up to see his crewmen hovering over him. It was only a horrific dream that impacted his life greatly. Two sides of one self: Throughout the entire story,
the narrator is obsessed with his
fears. He doesn't want to be alone
or abandoned, but he doesn't want to be around people because he's afraid
they'll think he's dead. Then at the
end of the story, after his dream, he
completely transforms. He becomes
a new man who begins to conquer his fears and eventually loses his catalepsy. Maddness/Insanity The narrator has gone mad with his obsession of premature burial. He lets his fear control his mind and life. It's driving him to insanity that he even attaches a bell to his coffin and redesigns his entire family vault. Themes: Characters: -Narrator: Has catalepsy. Is afraid that he will be pronounced dead during a cataleyptic trance and buried alive.

Friend: Accompanies the narrator.

Crewmen: Provided shelter fro the narrator on the boat. Setting: Isolation- The narrator
is isolated from the world
because of his abnormal fear
of being buried alive. He's
afraid of being alone and
abandoned. Yet, he doesn't
want to leave his home because
of his premature burial fear.

Terror- In this story, terror
effects the narrator's mind
and gives him dwelling and
obsessive thoughts about
being buried alive. -Middle of the 19th century
-Richmond, Virginia
-Boat on the James River The story we had was The Premature Burial, by Edgar Allan Poe. The summary of the story. (Play on audacity). Then we have the motifs. In this story Poe uses six motifs. They are unnamed narrator, premature burial, vortex, dreaming, two sides of oneself, and madness/insanity. The first motif is unnamed narrator. The narrator is the main character throughout the story. He tells the story from his point of view and never reveals his name. He is a depressing character that is obsessed with his fear of being buried alive. The next motif is premature burial. During the story, the narrator describes events where people are mistaken for death, but actually alive. They are then buried alive, sometimes escaping, but not always. As the story continues thee narrator reveals that this is his biggest fear and keeps him from living his life. Another motif is vortex. Without realizing it, the narrator falls asleep. When he supposedly awakens he finds himself inside a coffin, buried in the earth. Some events play out and it appears that he's been transporting into a different reality where he is trapped with no escape. Creating a vortex. One of the major motifs in this story is dreaming. At the end of the story, the narrator wakes up and assumes he's trapped inside a coffin. He smells earth and immediately believes that he's underground. He panics and reaches for his bell, but realizes that he's not in his family vault. Someone starts shaking him and he wakes up to see his crewmen hovering over him. It was only a horrific dream that impacted his life greatly. Another motif is two sides of oneself. Throughout the entire story, the narrator is obsessed with his fears. He doesn't want to be alone or abandoned, but he doesn't want to be around people because he's afraid they'll think he's dead. Then at the end of the story, after his dream, he completely transforms. He becomes a new man who begins to conquer his fears and eventually loses his catalepsy. The final motif is madness/insanity. The narrator has gone mad with his obsession of premature burial. He lets his fear control his mind and life. It's driving him to insanity that he even attaches a bell to his coffin and redesigns his entire family vault. Next we have the theme of the story. The main theme of this story is Isolation. The narrator is isolated from the world throughout the story, because of his abnormal fear of being buried alive. He's afraid of being alone and
abandoned. Yet, he doesn't want to leave his home because of his premature burial fear. Another theme that the story has is terror. Terror effects the narrator's mind and gives him dwelling and obsessive thoughts about being buried alive. Other information we have is the characters. The narrator is the overall main character. He has catalepsy. He is afraid that he will be pronounced dead during one of his cataleptic trances and be buried alive. Other characters are his unnamed friend and the crewmen, who accompany him on the boat. Our final piece of information is the setting. The story takes place in the middle of the 19th century in Richmond, Virginia on the James River.
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