Influence of death on poe : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I have a term paper due in 3 weeks on poe. The paper has to be done on the influence of death on poe, the life reflection in his works, or the dective genre. I really need some help can you all help/

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2002


Death was an obsession for many artists of that era so be particular without making him seem like the nutcase Kevorkian of the horror tale. Of all that wrote perhaps Poe was most especially cursed from the beginning of his life(losing two parents, then stepmother, then estrangment from father, death of Mrs. Stanard,the symbolic death of losing his first betrothal to the end when his happiness was dashed by the death of young wife Virginia. In the context of pretty constant poverty and dangerous health aggravated by alcoholism.

So his youthful idealization of his melancholy(since he never really knew his mother) became a favorite theme to work out his unresolved loss. But when Virginia died the full reality was too much. Still he kept writing out this truncated grief in poems more bitter, angry or despairing. A non-typical refusal to be absolutely comforted by faith or Hope. Job but making a heroic stand in nearly hopeless pain, seeking escape more than an answer, but trapped like a rabbit caught in the headlights. The detective story works out this relationship in ways similar to other tales where the hero finds a way out through use of science, reason and ingenious intuition. Anti-superstitious, though existentially haunted, problem solving Poe derides the supernatural and finds explanations(though he clearly revels in the first feelings of Mystery). Marie Roget(Mary Rogers) is an actual case Poe solved in this manner. Note different perpectives(never I think going inside the mind of the female) of killer, victim and detective in various stories. Even the villains are generally haunted more than guilty and the escapees seemed marked forever despite their successful self-reliance.

I think Poe considered himself stuck in a twilight border between past memories where happiness lay dead and the afterlife he could not touch or see without crossing that great divide. He nver seems to move far back or forward from that position, working out in art but never resolving the pain or fear.

-- Anonymous, February 18, 2002

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