Thesis of General Themes in Poe : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I would normally not look for help, but I've run into a dead end. Poe interests me as an author and a poet and I've read a majority of his works but I'm having trouble finding a thesis for a reserch paper using critisim on Poe. The paper is for an American Lit class and it's due Tuesday ... I know that's a tough date, but I've really run into a dead end.

Please, if anyone has and unusally themes of Poe (for example, sadly I can't use it, the general use of Clocks in Poe's works). It would be much appreciated. I've noticed that most if not all his works are in the first person, I have been trying to think of a thesis using that, but it's not coming, plus finding critisim invloving that has been hard to find. If anyone can help it would be a huge help.


-- Anonymous, June 15, 2003


I think the use of the narrator in both poems and stories is to concentrate both Poe and the reader as one with a direct witness/participant in the story- that the singular emotional impact upon these layered participants cross over from the mere story into the pysche. In other words, the story may be less important than the narrator and his own emotional state aggravated by the story. that this is counter to every reader's normal judgment helps Poe perform this contact with a sleight of hand strengthening the illusion. It is a chief component why THESE stories are so memorable. Many people even go on and on about the psychological study of the first person narration and other details and AGAIN miss what is happening.

That Poe intended to go beyond the stock Gothic tale and omit a lot of exagerrated gore and supernatural gimmicks is clear. That Poe intended to make the Byronic hero in charge of the tale as a type of the dark Romantic mind PLUS battling for scientific reason against immeasurable forces is true. That the whole story acts as a poem for singular effect and is only a vehicle for communicating the personal impact is often ignored. Poe of course was writing for the market and toying with the readers' simple desires. Yet each and every item seems to obsessively return to his genuine Muse. As stories grade off into partial then full humor(The Premature Burial to Dr. Tarr and Dr. Feather for example) the nature of the excitement and shock merely change, still containing black humor and a shadow. From the Gothic stories we can move the other way back to poetry of ineffable beauty and light, that yet contain elements of the shadow.

So on an artificial range, it is in the tales, particularly the detective stories and the best Gothic tales, that Poe finds his contradictory center fighting for control. We have trouble there identifying his most rational conviction and highest poetic spirit, the more so since the tales are so compelling as stories.

Themes and symbols(emblems) that are common to Poe may be found simply by reading some works and listing ideas and imagery. There is a great deal of repetition, almost obsessively so. Eyes, stars, heart(beat), the will, memory, silence, the shore, dark or misty places, confined spaces, red light, architecture of decay and retreat-imprisonment, November mists, the abyss and vortex. Try , with Poe Studies articles, or online database articles available from your library such as the Gale Group.

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2003

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