Technique of "Unity of Effect." : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Does anyone know anything about a technique Poe used and entitled "Unity of Effect" with regard to plot advancement? I'm writing a research paper on Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," and I believed she borrowed this technique. However, I need more information about the technique itself before I can incorporate it into my paper. My understanding of technique is that Poe wrote his stories in such a way that all elements of the plot unify toward a single, sometimes shocking or surprising, climax. The ending might be shocking, but the clues to it are in the text.

-- Anonymous, December 08, 2000



It appears your assessment of Poe's principle of unity of effect is reasonably consistent with his intent. Although I think he carried it much further and included written verse as well as prose, at least as it applies to the short story form. His comments on novel writing seems to deviate somewhat from this priniciple and it is probably related to the length of the typical novel. You might be interested to read three of his essays. "The Rationale of Verse", "The Poetic Priniciple" and his "Philosophy of Composition". Each of these provide varying details on his use of a singular effect. They can be found in a listing on the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore web site at:

Best Regards,

-- Anonymous, December 08, 2000

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