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Edgar Allan Poe


Kate Lin and Josephine Liao. Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was born in Boston on January ... The house seems to have collected an evil and diseased atmosphere from the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
  • Elaine Chen, Penny Lu,
  • Kate Lin and Josephine Liao

Edgar Allan Poe
  • Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809
  • His parents died before he was three, and shortly
    afterwards Poe was adopted by John Allan
  • Poe Attended school in England during 1815-20,
    and entered the University of Virginia in 1826,
    but did not finish because of financial problems.
  • Published his first book Tamerlane and Other

Edgar Allan Poe (2)
  • Broke off the engagement to Sarah Royster
  • His supportive friends published Poems for him.
  • Poe was also an assistant editor of Southern
    Literary Messenger, who moved to Richmond, and
    secretly married Virginia in 1835
  • Poe had also published the short story The
    Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and then moved to

Edgar Allan Poe (3)
  • Poe moved to Philadelphia in 1838, became the
    co-editor of Burtons Gentlemans Magazine, and
    published The Fall of the House of Usher in 1839.
  • His poem, The Raven, had made him a principal
    reviewer of the Broadway Journal.
  • His beloved wife, who is his cousin, Virginia
    died in 1847.
  • Poe died of congestion of the brain on October 7,
    1849, perhaps due to his constant drinking and
    opium taking.

Poes Works
  • Poems The Raven, To Helen, Annabel Lee
  • Articles Criticism
  • Short Stories The Tell-Tale Heart
  • Detective The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • Horror The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the
    House of Usher

Features of Poes Works
  • The atmosphere in the work of Poe is rather dark
    and strange
  • The characters in his tales include those
    aristocratic madam, self-tormented murderers,
    neurasthenic necrophiliacs and other deviant
    types (700, B 1509-10)
  • Poetry was a passion, and not a purpose
    (700, B 1510)

To Helen
  • Sarah Helen Whitman (1803-1878), for whom Poe
    wrote "To Helen
  • The poem itself could be considered as a letter
    to Helen of Troy.
  • Metaphors to present beauty of Helen

Metaphors in To Helen
  • The warm and comfortable feelings Helen gives the
    narrator That gently, oer a perfumed sea/The
    weary, way-worn wandered bore to his own native
  • Beauty of Helen her timeless face, hyacinth
    hair, nymphlike temperament and the pride of
  • Helen is also portrayed as the narrators
    mentorPsyche, the agate lamp

Annabel Lee
  • The purpose of the poem was to be a
    representation of Poes wife, Virginia.
  • The theme includes two parts, including perfect
    and true love
  • In the poem, there are metaphors to show the
    perfect as well as selfish love between the
    narrator and Annabel Lee

Metaphors Perfect Love and Selfish Love
  • Mythical Setting It was many and many a year
    ago/In a kingdom by the sea (lines 1-2)
  • Innocent Love I was a child and she was a child
    (lines 7-8)
  • Pure Love
  • We love with a love that was more than love…with
    a love that…seraphs…covet her and me (lines 8-11)
  • But we loved with a love that was more than
    loveme and Annabel Lee (lines 8-9)
  • Selfish Love This maiden she lived with no other
    thought/that to love and to be loved by me (lines

MetaphorsEternal Love
  • The moon and the stars For the moon never
    beams, without bringing me dreams/ Of the
    beautiful Annabel Lee / And the stars never
    rise, but I feel the bright eyes/ Of the
    beautiful Annabel Lee. (lines 34-37)
  • Annabel Lees tomb by the sounding sea And so,
    all the night tide, I lie down by the side/ Of my
    darling . . . / In her sepulchre there by the
    sea/In her tomb by the sounding sea. (lines

The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher
  • The Fall of the House is widely acknowledged to
    be one of Poes finest and most representative
    tales, which is also an early and supreme example
    of the Gothic horror story.
  • The story exhibits Poes concept of art for
    arts sake--this idea is that a story should be
    devoid of social, political, or moral teaching.
  • Poes aim in his representation of horror in his
    tales was to create the sense of terror of the
    soul and mind.

Summary I
The story begins with the first-person
narrator riding on horseback toward the ancient
home of his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher. In
the opening, the narrator has established an
overwhelming atmosphere of dread. The house seems
to have collected an evil and diseased atmosphere
from the decaying trees and murky ponds around
it. The narrator also notices that the structure
of the house is solid, and there is a fissure in
the front of the building from the roof to

The reason the unnamed narrator rushes to
the house of Usher and stays there is that his
friend, Roderick, has written him a letter,
asking for the narrator's visit. Besides,
Roderick mentioned in his letter that he felt
bodily and emotionally ill.
Summary II
  • The narrator also explains that the
    Usher family is an ancient clan that never
    flourished, and only one member of the Usher
    family survives from generation to generation.
    When the narrator walks in the house, he finds
    the inside of the house is as dreary as the
    outside. He also notes that his friend is paler
    and less energetic than he once was. Besides,
    Roderick suffers from nerves and fear because he
    was also afraid of his own house.

Summary III
  • Later on, the narrator sees Rodericks
    sister, Madeline, who has taken ill with a
    mysterious illness. After few days, Madeline
    dies, and Roderick decides to bury his sister in
    the vaults in the house. When the narrator
    helps Roderick put the body in the tomb, he
    notices that Madeline has rosy cheeks as some do
    after death.
  • Over next few days, Roderick becomes even
    more uneasy. One night, the narrator cannot sleep
    either, with Roderick knocking on his door,
    apparently hysterical. He leads the narrator to
    the window, from where they can see a
    bright-looking gas all around the house. However,
    the narrator has used a rational way to explain
    the phenomenon.

Summary IV
  • In order to calm Roderick down, the narrator
    reads the Mad Trist to him. As he reads the
    story, he hears noises that correspond to the
    description in the book. Although the narrator
    tries to ignore it however, the noises becomes
    more distinct. Moreover, the narrator hears the
    murmuring of Roderick, and Roderick believes
    that they have buried his sister alive and she is
    trying to get out. Suddenly, Roderick yells that
    his sister is standing behind the door. The wind
    blows the door open, with his sister really
    standing in white robes bloodied from her
    struggle. She falls upon her brother, and
    Roderick dies of fear eventually. The narrator
    then flees from the house, and as he does so, the
    entire house cracks along the break in the
    frame, with everything crumpling to the ground.

The Setting of The House
  • The house establishes an atmosphere of
    dreariness, melancholy, and decay.
  • The room in which I found myself was very large
    and lofty. The windows were long, narrow, and
    pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black
    oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from
    within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made
    their way through the trellised panes, and served
    to render sufficiently distinct the more
    prominent objects around the eye, however,
    struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of
    the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and
    fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the
    walls. The general furniture was profuse,
    comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books
    and musical instruments lay scattered about, but
    failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt
    that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air
    of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over
    and pervaded all. (720, B 1537)

The Setting of The House
  • The house sets the scene for an eerie, diseased
    and black tale.
  • It is a symbol for the Usher family, since the
    house was not only personified but that it was
    also just as crumpled as the family was.
  • I looked upon the scene before meupon the mere
    house, and the simple landscape features of the
    domainupon the bleak walls upon the vacant
    eye-like windowsupon a few rank sedgesand upon
    a few white trunks of decayed treeswith an utter
    depression of soul which I can compare to no
    earthly sensation more properly than to the
    after-dream of the reveler upon opiumthe bitter
    lapse into everyday lifethe hideous dropping off
    of the veil.

The Setting of The House
  • There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of
    the heart an unredeemed dreariness of thought
    which no goading of the imagination could torture
    into aught of the sublime. What was it I paused
    to thinkwhat was it that so unnerved me in the
    contemplation of the House of Usher? (718,
  • It was this deficiency, I considered, while
    running over in thought the perfect keeping of
    the character of the premises with the accredited
    character of the people, and while speculating
    upon the possible influence which the one, in the
    long lapse of centuries, might have

The Setting of The House
  • exercised upon the other . . . consequent
    undeviating transmission, from sire to son, of
    the patrimony with the name, which had, at
    length, so identified the two as to merge the
    original title of the estate in the quaint and
    equivocal appellation of the "House of Usher"an
    appellation which seemed to include, . . .
    both the family and the family mansion. (719,
  • Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light,
    and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual
    could have issued for the vast house and its
    shadows were alone behind me. . . . While I
    gazed, this fissure rapidly widened there came a
    fierce breath of the whirlwindthe entire orb of
    the satellite burst at once upon my sightmy
    brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing
    asunderthere was a long tumultuous shouting
    sound like the voice of a thousand watersand the
    deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and
    silently over the fragments of the "House of
    Usher." (730, B 1541)

  • Unnamed narrator first person POV, and
    considered to be rational
  • He was enchained by certain superstitious
    impressions in regard to the dwelling which he
    tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had
    never ventured forthin regard to an influence
    whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms
    too shadowy here to be re-statedan influence
    which some peculiarities in the mere form and
    substance of his family mansion, had, by dint of
    long sufferance, he said, obtained over his
    spiritan effect which the physique of the gray
    walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which
    they all looked down, had, at length, brought
    about upon the morale of his existence. (721,

  • Roderick--- is ill bodily and emotionally, as
    well as superstitious
  • Upon my entrance, Usher arose from a sofa on
    which he had been lying at full length, and
    greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much
    in it, I at first thought, of an overdone
    cordialityof the constrained effort of the
    ennuyé man of the world. . . . A
    cadaverousness of complexion an eye large,
    liquid, and luminous beyond comparison lips
    somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a
    surpassingly beautiful curve a nose of a
    delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of
    nostril unusual in similar formations a finely
    molded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence,
    of a want of moral energy hair of a more than
    web-like softness and tenuity these features,
    with an inordinate expansion above the regions of
    the temple, made up altogether a

  • countenance not easily to be forgotten. … The
    silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all
    unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture,
    it floated rather than fell about the face, I
    could not, even with effort, connect its
    Arabesque expression with any idea of simple
    humanity. (720, B1537)
  • The conditions of the sentience had been here, he
    imagined, fulfilled in the method of collocation
    of these stones . . . , and in its
    reduplication in the still waters of the tarn.
    Its evidence --the evidence of the sentience was
    to be seen, he said, . . . in the gradual yet
    certain condensation of an atmosphere of their
    own about the waters and the walls. The result
    was discoverable, . . . ,and which made him
    what I now saw himwhat he was. (725, B1541-42)

  • Madeline has unknown disease, which is
  • The disease of the lady Madeline had long
    baffled the skill of her physicians. A settled
    apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and
    frequent although transient affections of a
    partially cataleptical character, were the
    unusual diagnosis. (722, B1539)
  • Narrator represents science
  • Roderick Usher superstition
  • Madeline represents the mystery and the cause of
    the collapse of the house.

Other Themes in the Story
  • Dream Poe entices readers to view the narrators
    experience as a dream, which include iterative
    images of water, sleep and descent as well as its
    repetition. (718,719, 722/ B1534-35, 1536,
  • Evil Poe creates an evil atmosphere through
    the narrators description of the Usher family
    home and Roderick and Madeline.
  • A glance, however, at his countenance, convinced
    me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down and for
    some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon
    him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe.
    Surely, man had never before so terribly altered,
    in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! .
    . . . And now in the mere exaggeration of the
    prevailing character of these features, and of
    the expression they were wont to convey, lay so
    much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke.
    (720, B1537)

Other Themes in the Story
  • TerrorPoe intends to arouse a sense of unearthly
    terror that spring from a vague, hinted and
    mysterious source in the story. ? His aim is to
    create tales of terror
  • Madeline is only seen briefly before she dies,
    stirring up the feeling of dread.
  • As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance
    . . . then, with a low moaning cry, fell
    heavily inward upon the person of her brother,
    and in her horrible and now final death-agonies,
    bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to
    the terrors he had dreaded. (730, B1547)

Other Themes in the Story
  • Roderick has a ghastly look of the pale skin he
    has on his body, which creates an eerie feeling
    for the audience.
  • Upon my entrance, . . . The now ghastly
    pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous luster
    of the eye, above all things startled and even
    awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered
    to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild
    gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell
    about the face, I could not, even with effort,
    connect its arabesque expression with any idea of
    simple humanity. (720, B 1537)

Poes Short Stories
  • Gothic literature
  • a. A tone that is gloomy, dark and
  • b. Events take place must be strange,
  • melodramatic or evil.
  • c. Two categories
  • (1) The grotesque refers to more
  • stories with
    human interaction.
  • (2) The arabesque involves very few
    people but many ideas, and are frequently in
    abstract location.

Important Themes in Poes Works
  • Doubling The paralleled scenes or characters
    closely mimic each other. e.g. The Fall of the
    House of Usher
  • At the termination of this sentence I started,
    and for a moment, paused for it appeared to me
    . . . it appeared to me that, from some very
    remote portion of the mansion, there came,
    indistinctly, to my ears, what might have been,
    in its exact similarity of character, the echo
    . . . . of the very cracking and ripping sound
    which Sir Launcelot had so particularly
    described. (728, B1545)

Important Themes in Poes Works
  • Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a
    feeling of wild amazementfor there could be no
    doubt whatever that, in this instance, I did
    actually hear (although from what direction it
    proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and
    apparently distant, but harsh, protracted, and
    most unusual screaming or grating soundthe exact
    counterpart of what my fancy had already conjured
    up for the dragon's unnatural shriek as described
    by the romancer. (729, B 1546)

Important Themes in Poes Works
  • Kinds of horrorPsychological Physical
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Conflicts e.g. science and superstition
  • Revenge e.g. The Cask of Amontillado

The Tell-Tale Heart
  • True!nervousvery, very dreadfully nervous I
    had been and am but will you say that I am mad?

Characters and Setting
  • The characters in this story include the
    narrator, the old man (someone the narrator that
    intended to kill), and the police
  • The setting is in the house, in the old mans
    room, where the old man is killed on the bed.

The Tell-Tale Heart
  • This grisly story was first published in a
    magazine called The Pioneer, 1843. It was
    reprinted twice in Poes lifetime but never as
    part of the collections of his fiction in book
  • It has been adapted for stage, radio, movies,
    and television. Its combination of action,
    confessional commentary, and accompanying sounds
    make it especially suitable for the radio.

The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The story reflects the wretchedness, sense of
    pain, and psychological malaise that Poe was
    undergoing toward the end of 1842, when he left
    Grahams, and his wife Virginia became gravely
  • The story The Tell-Tale Heart is very dramatic
    and has separate segments which conform to the
    five parts of traditional drama.

The Tell-Tale Heart
  • First, the narrator introduces himself and his
    victim, and denies himself as sane, of acute
    senses, and committed to a murderous course.
  • Second, suspense mounts as he enters the old
    mans room, time after time.
  • Third, he returns a final time to consummate the
  • Fourth, his clean-up activities constitute
    falling action, leading to the end.
  • And fifth, the catastrophic entrance of the
    police officers and the revelation by the killer
    of his deed and his victims body.

The Old Man
  • It has been said that the old man, whom the
    narrator feels obliged to murder may be an
    authoritarian figure, perhaps Poes foster
    father, John Allan, or other members of the
    literary and publishing establishment which Poe
    could not conquer, and that he felt a sense of
    relief, while vicariously destroying them all.

The Conscience
  • In this story, the narrator takes great pain to
    conceal the body, but the imperceptive police
    still attempts to search the old man.
  • The narrator confesses the repulsive unmotivated
    murder of the harmless roommate, driven by
    remorse of conscience he gives himself away when
    he hearsor fancies he hearsthe beating of the
    dead mans heart.
  • The beating could be viewed as the narrators
    conscience-stimulated tell-tale heart that beats
    louder and louder, then eventually reveals the

The Moral
  • The moral has to do with the perverse compulsion
    of the guilty to unmask themselves.
  • The narrator here surely could have gotten away
    with the act of murder but for his inner beings
    urge to come out into the open.

The Raven
  • The narrator moves through a sequence of changing
    moods. When first awakened by the raven, he is
    gloomy. Terror quickly follows, then curiosity
    as he seeks a simple explanation for the tapping.
    The entrance of the bird makes him smile. But
    soon the uncanny aptness of the same, cruel
    answer causes bitter self-questioning, sad
    memory, near hysteria, and finally permanent
    hopelessness. The raven in the end never flits,
    still sitting there, with devil eyes, its shadow
    falling on the floor and the mans soul is in
    that shadow, forever.
  • The subject of the poem deals with the death of a
    beautiful woman, which could be Virginia or
    others whom the Poe speaker loves, and the sorrow
    of a lover whose beautiful lady has been taken
    from him by death.

The Raven
  • This poem was first printed on January 29, 1845,
    in the New York Evening Mirror and was soon
    reprinted in the February issue of the American
  • Poe received 10 for it but also with world-wide
  • The Philosophy of Composition had explanatory
    notes step by step on the creative process Poe
    went through in fashioning the poem.
  • The poem exists in 16 different versions, which
    suggests that Poe had built it up over a period
    of years (1841-1844).

The Symbol
  • The next-to-last stanza describes the end of
    action, since the raven refuses to leave, and
    what follows is the unending feeling of stark
    wretchedness, symbolized by the immobile raven,
    with its evil dreaming eyes and its engulfing
  • The raven is revealed as a symbolnot of death,
    but in Poes memorable phrase, of Mournful and
    Never-ending Remembrance.

The Philosophy of Composition
  • This piece of work was written in 1846, as an
    essay on the creation of The Raven.
  • Poe describes that composing a poem is a
    mathematical problem ?? by a species of fine
    frenzy - an ecstatic intuition - and would
    positively shudder at letting the public take a
    peep behind the scenes. (753, B1599)
  • Poe expresses that a piece of work must have a
    single effect which could be read at one sitting
    ? Length 100 Lines/poem, and The Raven has
    108 Lines (754, B1599-1600)

The Philosophy of Composition
  • In addition, The Raven is written backwards.
  • Effect ? Plot ? The piece of work
  • Beauty Deaththe death of a beautiful woman
  • Melancholy
  • Subject and Tone
  • Nevermore
  • After the climax ?no meaning for the narrator the
    search the moral of Nevermore
  • "Mournful and never-ending remembrance."

Works Cited
  • Who was E.A. Poe? Edgar Allen Poe.
  • .
  • Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1949)
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