the sphinx : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Can you plesase help me and my friend out with a summary on the sphinxby edgar allen poe? We have a major project due on the is story tommorow in english. i would really appriaciate it if you could hook me up with a summary on it right now. thanx tara and jess

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2000



The short story, "The Sphinx" is satiric story of a man too close to a subject to discern fancy from reality. The man, visiting a relative outside New York during a cholera epidemic, hears that many friends have died as a result of the plague. Being somewhat superstitious and susceptible to omens, he is sitting in a chair by the window and observes a "monster" appear on a distant hill and proceed down and disappear into the forest. His interpretation of what he has seen is that it is an omen of his coming demise.

He shares the experience with his host and describes in minute detail, the monster he has seen. Recognizing the description for what is truly is, the host read, almost verbatim, from a book about insects. He demonstrates that what the narrator has seen is nothing more than a 'Death's Head Sphinx', a moth from Europe.

The purpose of this story was to draw attention to, what Poe felt, was the unnecessary emphasis attributed to Democracy by those of the public that were too close to the subject. While the tale does give some insight into Poe's interest in politics and the government of his time, it is not one of his better tales. If I can find the picture, I will send you a copy of the Death's Head Sphinx moth.

Good Luck,

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2000

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