INTRODUCTION and many more. Edgar Allan Poe

INTRODUCTION OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

American literature is the literature written or
produced in the area of the United States and its previous colonies The United States was influenced by English literature before
the United States was founded. In this way, the American literary was became
division of the narrow tradition of English literature. Nonetheless, it is considered to be a separate literary
tradition

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 to
October 7, 1849) was an American writer,
poet, critic and editor best known for evocative short stories and poems that
captured the imagination and interest of readers around the world. Many of
Poe’s famous short stories are “The
Tell-Tale Heart” (1843), “The Cask of
Amontillado” (1846) and “The Fall of
the House of Usher” (1839),and his famous poems, “The Raven” (1845) “The Pit and the Pendulum” and many more.

Edgar Allan Poe was a
meticulous writer who was devoted to his work, invented two genres: the mystery
story and the horror story. Both forms have flourished ever since. He was a
moody, sensitive person whose stories and poems dwell on the supernatural and
on crime, torture, premature burial, and death. His writing, which brought him
little comfort or security, reflects the dark, nightmare side of the
imagination. He was indeed, most unfortunate in his parents. His father, David
Poe, was an ordinary travelling actor who drank heavily. His mother, Elizabeth
Arnold, was a talented actress who was abandoned by her husband when Edgar was
still baby. She was passed away leaving Edgar in an orphanage at the age of
three years old.

Poe was considered as a
legend of popular culture. Here are the proofs that Edgar Allan Poe is a very
famous American poet of all time. Poe’s works have been translated into
different languages and Stephen King, one of the popular writers point to Poe
as their literary forefather. Also he was considered as The Mystery Writers of
America with great achievements in mystery writing. There is no doubt that most
of the readers who loves mysterious and scary stories cherished the works of
Edgar Allan Poe.

DISCUSSION:

Edgar Allan Poe is most known for his subject matter that he tends to write
about crazy people, violence, and scary events. He is the first American writer
that writes a horror stories or poems. Poe is the first one who really seems
focused not just on unpleasant things but on communicating. The unpleasantness
of those things and its visceral manner. Most of his themes are sadness, loss, violence
and madness that tells a lot about Poe’s writing styles.

 Poe is known for writing and using a number of
techniques very prominently. One is the use of the first person narrator.
This is a technique that is commonly used by Poe to help the reader not only to
make the reader feel the character’s emotions, but also get into the head of
the main character. We are automatically feel a connection with the character.
The repetition of the word “I” in the first person narration
makes the reader feel that he/she is the one who is experiencing the events and
built a deeper connection to the narrator. He does this to show the reader that
he shares the feelings and thoughts of the character. Most of his stories are
told in the first person and that is the narrator is active in the story as a
character and usually the main character in Poe’s case and this as what happens
in The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell-Tale Heart. This allows Poe to
get up close and personal with the emotions of his characters particularly of
the narrator. He came up with crazily hyperbolic ways of putting his characters
under pressure like live burials, torture, murder etc. It puts the reader up
close and personal with some very disturbing people who are feeling, thinking
and doing some disturbing things. Poe was interested in really extreme
situations because he believed that the real person is the person that shows up
under pressure.  The first person
narrator is a very effective way for him to show that to us. For example, in
The Tell-Tale heart the narrator, who was previously established to be
compulsive and paranoid, becomes floored by an auditory hallucination. He thinks
he hears the master’s heart still beating beneath the floor and becomes so
irritated that he rips up the floor boards, exposing the body to the police.
The feelings of compulsivity and paranoia by the narrator is shown by his
reaction to the hallucination. “Oh God!
What could I do? I foamed – I raved – I swore! I swung the chair upon the
boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. He grew louder
– louder – louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it
possible they heard not? Almighty God! – no, no! they heard! – they suspected!
– they knew!” the narrator in The Cask of the Amontillado and The Tell-Tale
Heart are both very ill, but it allows Poe to provide the reader with a
carefully composed point of view.

The second thing that he uses
is the unreliable narrator. Many times he shows us really quickly that
we can’t trust what the narrator is saying. The classic example is The
Tell-Tale Heart. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
is a major element of gothic literature, in which shows the main theme of
dementia or insanity. This theme of insanity is develop over the course of the
story by Poe’s style of gothic writing. Gothic fiction is often characterized
by fear, horror and death. It is very suspenseful and produces an intensive
emotions in their characters and gives intense emotions in the reader. The
Tell-Tale Heart is in the first person point of view. It is considered to be
one of the weirdest short story due to a creepy narrator. Most of the readers
would felt scary after reading. It is created by a narrator who may or may not
in his right mind or insane.

Poe
also uses punctuations to make a point in his story. He uses correct
punctuations to feel the readers the effect of the sentence. This can be seen
in the first sentence of the short story “The
Tell-Tale Heart”.  “True! – nervous – very, very dreadfully
nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” In here,
the dashes take place the comma to create the tension of the story on the first
line. He wants to prove to the readers that he is sane.  The narrator spends the first half of the
story telling us,” I’m not mad no really
I’m not crazy”, he states this to the readers for them to believe him that
he is sane, he is in his right mind. It becomes very clear to the reader that
he is crazy as the story goes by. Third, he uses of irony in the beginning of
the story to prove to the reader that he is not mad and he also admits that he
has an acute sense of hearing. He proves it by stating in his story, “I heard all things in the heaven and in the
earth. I heard many things in hell.” By trying to prove his sanity it means
that this line is very ironic. He reveals that he hears voices that the other
people won’t able to hear. The more he protests, the more we are certain that
he is crazy. By having an unreliable narrator especially one that we recognize
quickly is the writing style of Poe. Poe increases the suspense for the reader
and he leaves us in a state where we are questioning what is real and what is
not. We are tied to lost ourselves, we do not know for sure what to do. The
narrator is our guide, we can’t trust them what do we believe. It forces us to
make decisions for ourselves, just like when you are talking to a person in
real life. You have to judge them based on their mannerisms and based on their
tone of voice. Whether you can trust them or not especially if you are reading
them. The way we are just meeting these narrators when we open the story.

The
third technique we are going to look is that Poe writes in a very rhythmic
fashion. When we are talking about his poetry we will see that he never does
the free verse. He doesn’t just choose a rhythm and a meter. He chooses very
complex and specific meters and he is almost nursery rhyme like in his existence
on never changing the meter. The unique intent for alliteration and rhyme is
demonstrated in one of his most famous poems “The Raven” it has the sound of a lyric, but, actually, it is a
narrative poem with plot that leads the reader from curiosity to horror. In his
poem, “The Raven” pushes Poe’s motive
to disturb the readers. The poem opens with what will become one of Poe’s most
famous quotes, “Once upon a midnight
dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary”. This rhyme scheme begins to
develop throughout the entire poem. This rhythm is very strict rhythm that he
uses and it is very complex and very typical of his poetry. In “The Raven”, a student is reading in his
chamber on a stormy night dreaming of his dead wife and he hears a sound at his
door. He opens the door to admit a raven, which speaks only one word, “nevermore”, in response to every
question he asks it. The skillful use of repetition occurs with the refrain, “nevermore”, brings a mournful
response within the narrator and it is important element in the rhyme
scheme of the poem.  The narrator
knows whatever he asks, the raven will bare the same response, but he’s still
forced to continue to engage the raven as humans have a need for self-torture.
The poem comes to a natural end when the suffering of the narrator built up to
its most extreme level. Poe paid as much attention to the sound of his words as
he did to their sense. His skillful use of rhythm, repetition and other sound effects strengthen
the emotional effect of his story. .”
An example of sound effects is The
Raven and it is one of the reasons why this poem became so popular because
of its catchy in the way a song can be. Like many songs, poem uses evocative
rhythms, clever rhymes, alliteration, and other sound effects. These elements
makes the poem to be in urgent need of oral interpretation.  The following passage in his short story “The Pit and the Pendulum”, the
repetition of words and consonants and the slow, steady rhythm of the long
sentences reflect the relentless, downward movement of the blade. “Inch by inch – line
by line – with a descent only appreciable at intervals that seemed ages
– down and still down it came! Days passed – it might
have been that many days passed – ere it swept so
closely over me as to fan me with its acrid breath”.
Shakespeare spends more time using similes and metaphors to describe things
same as Poe. These long descriptions in Poe can sometimes leave the modern
feeling a little confused or frustrated. In writing in Poe’s style, he include
tons of sensual details which means details communicated by the five senses and
he uses lots of figurative language, simile, metaphor, personification and just
shove it all. Another thing that Poe does with almost all of his narrators are
speaking to the reader as if they are telling the story. Poe uses simile
to compare a beating heart of the old man’s heart of a drum before battle. “It increased my fury as the beating of the
drum stimulates the soldier into courage.” The heart beat caused his fury
to increase just as a drum beat increases a soldier’s courage. Poe also uses irony
in this line because the narrator is comparing his fury to a soldier’s courage.
They might ask rhetorical question or other things, so it is a very
conversational narration and he likes to make the dialogue or the speech of the
narrator not that they’re the same thing. The dialogue as one of the speech of
the narrator is the narration he likes to make it very emotional as a story
gets more intense. The person telling the story will get more intense and often
this means that he starts shortening his sentences, they get choppy, lots of
dashes, jumpy and moving back and forth. This means that Poe uses of
intensification of energy and emotion for his characters. I noticed a number of
other things that he does. He loves to use big words. If he can pull out one
fancy word that a normal person would communicate with a phrase or a clause he
will do it. Poe is someone that when you first exposed to read one of his work
you will probably want to read with a thesaurus so that you can look up words
that you do not know. There are some words when I read The Tell-Tale Heart that
I don’t know. I have spent a lot of time searching for the words that I do not
understand in a dictionary. Poe had a tremendous vocabulary and he liked to show
it off. So if I’m going to imitate Poe’s writing style I might try pulling a
thesaurus out and look for a fancier alternatives to some of the simple words
that we naturally use to spice up the story to make it a little more Poe like.
The other thing that Poe does in addition to rhythm is all kinds of sound
effects in his poetry. He loves to use alliteration which is the repetition
of consonant sounds, usually at the beginnings of words. Poe uses alliteration
for sound effects. In Poe’s, The Pit and
Pendulum, “With a steady
movement – cautious, sidelong, shrinking, and slow — I slid
from the embrace of the bandage and beyond the reach of the scimitar.”
As you have notice in this sentence how the swishing, hissing “s” sounds reproduce the hissing sound
of the blade as it swings over the prisoner.  In Poe’s poem The Raven, the narrator uses alliteration to describe the raven. A
good example of alliteration is in line 71, where the hard g is repeated four
times, almost resulting in a tongue twister:
 “this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and
ominous bird of yore”. In here, the repetitive of the hard “G” pushes the
feeling across that the narrator is disturbed by the bird, and the guttural ‘G”
sound confirms the narrator anxiety of the bird. An example of his assonance
can be seen in his story The Tell-Tale Heart, linking different words
is seen and heard in this line, “Over
many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore. While I nodded, nearly
napping, suddenly there came a tapping as of someone gently rapping, rapping at
my chamber door is some visitor, I muttered, tapping at my chamber door only
this nothing more”. In here the line: “volume
of forgotten lore”. Poe connected with two different examples of assonance
with the word forgotten. This word contains the same or sound as the first two
words and the same or sound as the last word.

 

CONCLUSION

Poe
certainly was able to write in a way which attracted most readers. I believe
part of his success in prose was related to his great ability as a poet. Such
devices that he uses in his writing style in most of his great works are the
first person point of view, the unreliable narrator, the use of proper punctuation
marks, lots of dashes, figurative language such as simile, assonance,
alliteration and irony etc. which was common to the other poets and Poe was one
of the best. Poe was able to successfully draw from his intimate knowledge of
words to create just the effect he desired in his works. His works are still
applicable over 100 years later because he sends his readers into the recesses
of their minds to think about their deficiencies and weaknesses. It can be also
haunts the readers and felt scared after they had read one of his short stories
or poems. If only Edgar Allan Poe is still alive nowadays I would rather meet
him personally to ask some questions regarding on his gothic style of writing. I
really love to read some scary stories that is why even if Poe was already dead
he was still the best poet I’ve ever known.

x

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