poe and alienation

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Discuss the topic of alienation in Poe's fiction and poetry with reference to at least five works.

Any thoughts? I am about to start this one, so any help would be great. I am thinking Usher as a main analysis, but not sure what else.

-- Anonymous, September 01, 2003


A broad topic, indeed, because Poe liked to stage such effective characters with almost clinical verisimilitude. But, on the other hand, alienation's nosology of our time doesn't coincide with that of Poe's own one. Nevertheless, you may try the NARRATORS of "The Black Cat" (whose infuriated madness could come from rabies inoculated by the cat's bites?), "Berenice" (compulsive obsessional disorder, as in the case, too, of "The Tell-Tale Heart"), "The Oblong Box" and "The Raven" (both being victims of some everlastingly burning love from beyond the tomb, but with quite different results),&c, &c... You may find, too, a comic/dramatic example of (socio-political/historical) madness in "Epimanes". And you can catch still a bright picture of various mental diseases in "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" narrative. Madness and fading mental states were a very popular subject at Poe's epoch, as well as at our own one. But all ever depends on the manner to treat it. Without the least doubt, Poe infused powerfully artful genius when choosing this for some of his "sensational" stories. Hoping these hints sufficiently helpful for starting your research, yours sincerely, Raven's Shade (Belgium).

-- Anonymous, September 01, 2003

Sorry for my hasty answer, but, about "The Oblong Box", I am naturally alluding to Wyatt's "madness", and not to its narrator... Yours, Raven's Shade (Belgium).

-- Anonymous, September 01, 2003

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