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Transcript of Poe
By 1811, his father had abandoned the family, leaving Elizabeth Poe alone with two-year-old Edgar, his elder brother Henry, and his infant sister Rosalie. And things soon got worse.
On 8 December 1811, Elizabeth Poe died of tuberculosis in Richmond, Virginia. News soon arrived that David Poe had also died of the same disease, within days of his estranged wife.
The three Poe children were split up. Edgar was taken in by the family of John and Frances Allan, a well-to-do Richmond couple unable to have children of their own. He added his foster family's name to his own, becoming Edgar Allan Poe. He was close to his foster mother, Frances, but never with to foster father, who always thought Edgar was a punk, shamefully ungrateful for all the couple did for him.
From 1815 to 1820, the family lived in England, where young Edgar got a good education at a school outside of London. In 1824, when he was fifteen and back in Richmond, Poe penned his first poem: "Last night, with many cares & toils oppres'd,/ Weary, I laid me on a couch to rest."
Poe enrolled at the University of Virginia. "In 1825 went to the Jefferson University at Charlottesville, Va.," Poe later wrote, "where for 3 years I led a very dissipated life — the college at that period being shamefully dissolute." By 1831, Poe wanted out of West Point and refused to go to class or church. He was sent to a court marshal hearing and was expelled.
In 1836 Poe married his 13 year old cousin, Virginia. In 1837 he lost his job as editor due to alcohol issues.
Poe moved to Philadelphia in 1838 and worked as editor for several publications. He also published several poems and short stories during this time. In 1841 Poe published his dark tale, The Murders in the Rue Morgue in a periodical magazine. Poe published his most famous poem, The Raven, in 1845 to instant acclaim. However, as with most of his writing, he was poorly paid for the popular work.
His wife, Virginia, passed away in 1847. By 1848, Poe was engaged, but the marriage was called off due to his excessive drinking. In 1849 he becomes engaged to another woman, but doesn't live long enough to marry.
Poe was admitted to a Baltimore hospital in 1849 after being found in a semi-conscious state. He never regained full consciousness and died on Oct. 7, 1849. The strange circumstances of Poe's death have led to many theories about the cause of his demise. Rumors include a tumor, fever, infection, tuberculosis, rabies, excessive drinking, and murder. It's late at night, and late in the year and man is sitting in his room, half reading, half falling asleep, and trying to forget his lost love, Lenore. Suddenly, he hears someone knocking at the door. He calls out, apologizing to the "visitor" he imagines must be outside. So he goes and opens the window, and in flies a raven. He asks for its name, just like you usually do with strange birds that fly into your house, right? Amazingly enough, though, the Raven answers back, with a single word: "Nevermore."
Understandably surprised, the man asks more questions; all it says is "Nevermore." Our narrator catches on to this rather slowly and asks more and more questions, which get more painful and personal. The Raven, though, doesn't change his story, and the poor speaker starts to lose his sanity. An unnamed narrator arrives at the House of Usher, a very creepy mansion owned by his boyhood friend Roderick Usher. Roderick has been sick lately, afflicted by a disease of the mind, and wrote to his friend, our narrator, asking for help. The narrator spends some time admiring the awesomely spooky Usher edifice.
Roderick appears to be a sick man. He suffers from an "acuteness of the senses," or hyper-sensitivity to light, sound, taste, and tactile sensations; he feels that he will die of the fear he feels. He attributes part of his illness to the fact that his sister, Madeline, suffers from catalepsy (a sickness involving seizures) and will soon die, and part of it to the belief that his creepy house is sentient (able to perceive things) and has a great power over him. He hasn’t left the mansion in years. The narrator tries to help him get his mind off all this death and gloom by poring over the literature, music, and art that Roderick so loves. It doesn’t seem to help.
As Roderick predicted, Madeline soon dies. At least we think so. All we know is that Roderick tells the narrator she’s dead, and that she appears to be dead when he looks at her. Of course, because of her catalepsy, she might just look like she’s dead, post-seizure. Keep that in mind. At Roderick’s request, the narrator helps him to entomb her body in one of the vaults underneath the mansion. While they do so, the narrator discovers that the two of them were twins and that they shared some sort of supernatural, probably extrasensory, bond. What do Poe's writings have in common?
Why do you think Poe's writing is so dark and creepy? Think about his personal life and what happened to people he loved.
What can we expect from "The Tell Tale Heart?" Pay attention to the audio! We will be pausing to ask questions... As you listen, read along and take notes in your graphic organizer. We will get into groups to discuss words and predictions.