compare and contrast the black cat, the tale tell heart, and the mask of the red death : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

i have an assignment for an english lit class that i'm having trouble with please help if you can. the question is compare and contrast poe's personification of death in the tale tell heart, the black cat and the mask of the read death. i have read all three and i don't get it. help!

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2003


Well, you may be right not to get it. Strictly speaking death is only personified in the Masque of the Red Death. In the other two it is the self destructive urge of the two crazed killers that turns their deeds against themselves. They are death to others and themselves.

You can spot an oversimplified classic teacher question a mile away. this is another. Peliance on terms like symbol, theme, personification etc. implies a level of technical analysis superfluous to the actual intent and style of Poe, or worse, lazy pigeonholes to insert any author into for the sake of "covering" a subject in fake depth.

Hey, I can be cruel too. Do not be daunted. Sure Poe was a genius on several levels and even loved playing tricks and jokes but his goals are often simple, very pared down, and often repeated for popular consumption. The skill is in making short popular works still masterpieces of intellectual art. Which drives many critics demanding serious, lengthy and meaningful art literally up the wall. All the devices, whether you understand the references or even the words are used very often purely to build mood and effect which often the sound and rhythm themselves convey. And Poe was more a natural than a mechanic so it flows more wholistically than a student would think, but neither is it just stream of consciousness but purely a work of skillful art.(That is, it is and it isn't personal biography and beliefs of Poe.).

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2003

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