who wants to help me with my term paper?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
Ok, I'm writing a Term paper on how Edgar Allan Poe puts his fear and obsession with death. It has to be 3-4 pages long. I'm including stories like " The Tell Tale Heart", "the Raven", "The Fall of The House of Usher", "Annabell Lee", etc. If anyone can help me write a few things, please contact me. Than
-- Anonymous, May 24, 2001
In reality, Poe does not merit the gut reaction to judge person and works by the "dak legend" alone. His Gothic tales(very common in his day and before and to this day) do possess his own full insight on what terror consists of and how it builds up. The artistry of his stories is to take the nightmare build-up of tensions, by mood wedded to reality, through the reader's mind in the unrelenting focus of first person narration. It is more the anatomy of a nightmare that guides him than any personal LOVE of evil and breakdown. Just a story folks!
On the other hand, when his life did turn into a nightmare, these nightmares becomes more personal and symbolic of his own defeat, failure and especially losses of loved ones. Annabel Lee, as chilling as the tone is, is also a defiant affirmation of love in the darkest defeat. It is not the less a downer simply because Poe is still on this side of reality and has not crossed over. His real obsession, if you will, was with the Ideal, the soul and drawing as close as possible to it despite the imerfections and defeats of life. "Annabel Lee" was written AFTER the death of his wife as was "Ulalume". "Eulalie" was written before and has a positive tone of marriage as rescue. His other poems of doom were either gothic or the ultimate dark romantic convention- the tragic, untimely death of a beautiful young woman(some addressed to old flames of his)as symbolic of the struggle of the poet to attain the Ideal in this imperfect world- with a sorrow for loss as profound as the love.
But the horror tales are supposed to end badly in general- or the endings don't sustain the purpose of the single emotion Poe is trying to produce. Usher and his narrator pal try to seek a refuge in the arts while the decay and ultimate doom land the final punches. the Tell-Tale Heart pushes and twists the need for the Ideal in the mind of a madman, driven to murder(and to getting caught) by hypersensitivity. This is only Poe grossly exagerrating things he could understand into a pyscholgical nightmare drama of madness. The Raven(see Poe's "The Philosophy of Composition" but don't believe all Poe tells you) as poem deals with the theme of remembrance as it probably existed for Poe. Always as a fidelity to the loved one and hope in the stars to be reunited, but an oppressive, silent burden that cannot be shaken off. I think Poe really had difficulty dealing with death in reality. Who wouldn't when you look at his life? And guilt at wishing the "ghosts" of memory, even of faithful hope, would leave him alone and go away so he could get on with his life. In a sense, hope that keeps the beloved alive overshadows his worldy hopes and in some sense threatens to blight both because they are connected- in real tragedy.
Just some ideas. Poe was VERY reticent about intimate details and his art is just that- art. Maybe as a way to cope but not extremely revealing of anything except his feelings and general poetic philosophy. Yeats for example who explained both his poems and gave us a rather complete autobiography. T.S. Eliot who obscured everything, even the sense of his images, eventually was ferreted out by studying his life and letters.
See www.eapoe.org for complete writings, articles etc. etc.
-- Anonymous, May 25, 2001
Murky, That has nothing to do with the question.
-- Anonymous, May 25, 2001