Whats is the "Oval Portrait" about?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

We are doing a research paper, and the short story I am assigned to read is the "Oval Portrait" and I am really having trouble with understanding the story. So if you could just hit me back with some information, I would greatly appreciate it.

-- Anonymous, March 16, 2001


Dear Kristin,

You want to know what "The Oval Portrait" is all about; okay, here goes:

If memory serves me correctly, the story begins with the narrator and his valet, or some such personage, seeking shelter from the rain, which they do so inside a chateux. Well, anyway, night comes (I think) and the narrator is in his room and looking at some portrait but it's really dark, so he lights a candle or something to get a better look.

Nice ptreey girl in the protrait, and he decides he wants to find out more information about her, so he reads up in a book about how the model who sat for the artist who painted the portrait apparently kinda had the life sucked out of her while he was painting the portrait, dying at its completion.

There is a very good book by Peter Barry, called Beginning Theory which analysis this tale in one of his chapters (and it's really detailed and stuff):

- Barry, Peter, Beginning Theory, (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1995).

There, that should help you out. Sorry to be so vague with this though, and e-mail me if you need anymore precise stuff, and I'll work on it:

Yours sincerely,


-- Anonymous, March 22, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ