i need help on the tale of the ragged mountainsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
i need a summary for the tale of the ragged mountains i am so confused at the end of the story i am having trouble understanding what is going on and what devices and what the single effect is in this story. . . can you help me?
-- Anonymous, November 26, 2001
Parallel fates? Reincarnation and subsequent similar death of Bedlo-Oldeb? The trustworthiness of Templeton the physician?
The horror that has captured Dr.Templeton first of all is that he finds again his friend(who did not listen to his protests and went to his death in India in 1780) in the sickly personage of Augustus Bedlo(similarities to Augustus Barnard-Arthur Pym confusion and twin deaths in his earlier novel). Is the hypnotism, the morphine and the complete domination of his failing patient all a subconscious plot by Templeton to relive the past? Did he then subconsciously murder his patient(by a wound to the "temple") once utterly self-convinced that Bedlo was a reincarnation? That the young man(be old- Bedlo) describes his drug vision supposedly without coaching on the surface lends a supernatural proof while rendering everything suspect.
So the story starts as usual by an ominous description of Bedlo and Templeton. Bedlo's recount of his dream journey(some sights and sounds seem to indicate the noises of "bedlam"(key rings, drum knocks, keys, hyena laugh) and a dream like Coleridge's Xanadu leading to an entry to the watercolor scene possessed by Templeton- that supposedly bedlo has never seen- into a story that supposedly he has not been told by his master hypnotist.
So he enters and exits the body of the killed Oldeb and this is the source of wonder-horror...unless it is the obsession of his controlling physician all along that is stealing health, mind and body for another one of Poe's ambiguous reincarnation stories. The bleak, reduced sense November setting is typical, dream fog, virgin slate upon which the vision is impressed in a manner very suspicious as if the man is being led by an unseen force. The use of doubles, lost and reborn relationship, haunting horror is very typical. The teasing use of science and realistic psychological detail juxtaposes the telling of the dream tale and its seeemingly extraordinary but ambiguous implications. In other stories of rebith such as Ligeia, Morella does the narrator have a similar subconscious, horror-fascination-obsessive role?
The single effect is that profound horror in the midst of ambiguity that is the boundary of the afterlife and the earthly rational.
-- Anonymous, November 27, 2001