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Copy of The Purloined Letter

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Amir Macabangkit

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of Copy of The Purloined Letter

By: Edgar Allan Poe


Basic Information
Fall
1800's
Paris
First person point of view
Setting
Autumn
Late Spring/ Early Summer
Late Autumn
3 months
1 month
• Monsieur G- comes back, still without letter
• He's desperate and offers 50,000 francs to anybody who can help
• Dupin hands over letter and takes money
• G- leaves without question

Same Day
o Psychological analysis
School boy
o Minister D- outsmarted police; knew how they thought
o Disguised letter and hid in plain sight because he knew police would look in details
o Dupin tells how he came to solution by getting into thief’s head, observation (poet and mathematician)
Plot
Timeline
Paris, 1800's
Conflicts

Cause: overall unknown because Dupin and D have a past
Recently, Dupin is looking for the letter Dupin took the letter and left a note, which gives Minister D a hint to the thief's identity

Resolution: He found the letter by thinking and using principles like Minister D
Cause: Minister D stole a letter and Paris police force must try to retrieve it

Resolution: Dupin finds the letter and gives it to Prefect G to return.
Cause: Minister D blackmails a royal woman to use the situation to gain political power.

Resolution: Dupin gives the letter to Prefect G , who is assumed to have restored it to the owner, and is therefore removed from the possession of Minister D's
Themes
Abuse of power as damaging
-The letter is the power in the story
-Almost every character abuses power for their own personal agendas

Cleverness as a competition
-Chain of who can outsmart who
-It's an intellectual battle


They talk about the foolishness of poets but the poetic thinking of Minister D allowed him to fool Prefect rather than the mathematical thinking:
"Not altogether a fool," said G., "but then he's a poet, which I take to be only one remove from a fool."

Prefect G and his team search so hard and so cleverly that they miss the obvious faked letter that is easily seen:
"Oh no; nothing of that nature. The fact is, the business is very simple indeed, and I make no doubt that we can manage it sufficiently well ourselves; but then I thought Dupin would like to hear the details of it, because it is so excessively odd."

"Plot Twist"- Dupin retrieved it and has had a history with Minister D

Irony
There are many examples of irony in the Purloined Letter; here are a few of the ones that stuck out to us:
Went in great detail about the search of the letter to show how thorough it was
Described how Dupin found the letter:
○ The process of finding it (thoughts and principles)
○ The state/ condition of the letter Dupin found











The above is an example of good description in the Purloined Letter; it shows us how thorough Poe is with his writing and allows the reader to become more involved with the story. As the person reading the story you feel more connected because you can visualize the content better with help of excellent descriptions, such as the one above about the actual letter.

Description

○ His advice to look again:
“I fear you are right there,” said the Prefect. “And now, Dupin, what would you advise me to do?”
“To make a thorough re-search of the premises.”
“That is absolutely needless,” replied G—.

○ The story about the Abernathy:
“’We will suppose,’ said the miser, ‘that his symptoms are such and such; now, doctor, what would you have directed him to take?’ “’Take!’ said Abernethy, ‘why, take advice, to be sure.’”
“But,” said the Prefect, a little discomposed, “I am perfectly willing to take advice, and to pay for it. I would really give fifty thousand francs to anyone who would aid me in the matter.”

○ Saying the simplicity might have caused the fault:
"Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thing which puts you at fault," said my friend.
"What nonsense you do talk!" replied the Prefect, laughing heartily.
"Perhaps the mystery is a little too plain," said Dupin.


Foreshadowing
What Dupin says led to the finding of the location/ hiding style of the letter

"Oh no; nothing of that nature. The fact is, the business is very simple indeed, and I make no doubt that we can manage it sufficiently well ourselves; but then I thought Dupin would like to hear the details of it, because it is so excessively odd."
"Simple and odd," said Dupin.
"Why, yes; and not exactly that, either. The fact is, we have all been a good deal puzzled because the affair is so simple, and yet baffles us altogether."
"Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thing which puts you at fault," said my friend.
"What nonsense you do talk!" replied the Prefect, laughing heartily.
"Perhaps the mystery is a little too plain," said Dupin.
"Oh, good heavens! who ever heard of such an idea?"
"A little too self-evident."
"Not altogether a fool," said G.,

Dialogue
Dupin speaks esoterically or enigmatically
Narrator asks for more information
Monsieur G/ Prefect supplies clear, straight information
Literary Terms
The Purloined Letter

Presented by: Kay Nilest, Rachel Finefrock, Molly McGee, and Brooke Armenta

Narrator: friend of Dupin, not involved in action of the story

Dupin: protagonist, analytical, cynical, arrogant, holds grudges; finds and returns the letter, high social ranking

Royal Lady: original owner of the letter; being blackmailed by D-

Prefect G-: Head of Parisian Police, predictable, one-track mind, arrogant

Minister D-: cabinet member, thief of letter, poet and mathematician, arrogant, intelligent and clever, high social ranking
Characters
External, person vs. person (Dupin and D)
External, person vs. person (D and the Parisian Police)

External, person vs. person vs. society
(D and the Royal Woman and the Parisian politics)


o Dupin went to Minister D-‘s house and wore shaded glasses to hide eyes while looking for letter
o Found letter disguised in letter rack
o One day later, he came back, caused a distraction and replaced letter with forgery
o Left message to Minister in letter to give clue as to who found the letter

Two men, Narrator and Dupin, in library when police officer comes in
Police officer begins to talk about case of stolen letter, Dupin is intrigued
The officer and Dupin discuss manner of searching for letter in house
Royal Lady receives a letter
She tries to hide it from somebody
Thief, Minister D-, comes into room and blatantly steals it off of her desk
Letter is high priority-> called upon Parisian Police
police begin very thorough investigation of home
This shows Poe's more romantic side with the calm description of the "eddies o f smoke," and his obsession with death as the narrator contemplates a recent murder. Also the very setting is romantic in a Gothic sort of way; old and pretty.

This shows a slightly darker side of Poe, with the use of black mailing and fear. The presence of danger (no matter how mild here) is something prevalent in Poe's writing.
Poe likes to talk of things lost, and in this case it is the letter. The letter is also something old (in appearance), which Poe likes to use as well. If you combine these two you see something lost, that is old; something of the past wanted back… hmm… sounds a bit Gothic, don't you think?

Poe's Writing Style
• Narrator is astounded and confused
• Dupin goes on explanation:
Video
This video relates to The Purloined Letter because the Parisian Police look so hard in all the wrong places, completely missing the letter. They have selective viewing, just as the audience does when watching this video.
Full transcript