Bon-Bon : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I was just wondering if anyone could give me a summary/interpretation of the story "bon-bon". I just can't see the big picture. I've never been able to analyze literature well.

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2003


Anyone can get floored by Poe's performance style. Happily you don't have to. In this youthful tale Poe perhaps is showing off to much to the genreral readership unacquainted as they might be with all the philosophers and ideas mildly mocked and punned. The "big picture" however is enough though the tale falls a little flat if too many teasing details go over your head. It is a comic satire on philosophy in general in a superantural dialogue with the devil. The plot and play of the dialogue is second to Poe's mockery and just another interplay such as one sees in the ironic satires of college students.

Bon-bon, French for"candy". resembles a piece of candy. Three foot high and fatly rotund with a small head, dressed in fantastic arabesque. He has a restaurant of ideas and tries to connect philosophy to cuisine and is writing a book. He fancies himself clever and note the qualities of the Poe hero grotesqued here "unnaccountable capacities, vague longings and unnatural inclinations". The other side of Poe's wickedly clever nature is seen in the visit of the tailed, tall pale thin, high foreheaded, vacant eyesockets, ill fitting clothes devil. The dialogue seesm another monlogue where Bon-bon defeats himself so thoroughly he offers his soul as a meal bargain to the devil who rejects it pleading momentary poverty.

In the process the ideas of the first paragraphs become actual. Philophers become soul food for the devil, the ideas only cuisine and reduced to the quality of taste. Poe whose genius soars beyond the stuffy and classical skewers the importance of the phiolsophical world in general, the sensual-cold-blooded French approach in particular, with the usual semi-mocking of his own ideas and self. A comic tale of the grotesque and arabesque, stressing the exciting(mentally enjoyable) performance of genius over any conviction and traditional belief, all great minds being equally mortal and flawed.

-- Anonymous, February 22, 2003

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