2001 Essay, Research Paper
Edgar Allen Poe
Edgar Allen Poe uses his stories to instill a single emotion into the reader. He uses many different aspects of the story to do this, including setting, characters, and action. For example, in the poems, “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” he instills the emotions of despair and loneliness. In the short stories “The Cast of the Amontillado” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” he instills the emotion of fear. In all these stories he uses the aspects mentioned, in different ways to instill these emotions.
In the poem, “The Raven”, Poe uses the setting of a dark and lonely house instill despair into the reader. He uses the character of the raven to instill despair. He does this through the fact that the raven is a dark and sorrowful bird, usually associated with death. The action is the most important aspect that Poe uses to instill hopeless despair into the reader. When the raven first enters and speaks the word “Nevermore,” it is not taken too seriously. As the action progresses however, the word “Nevermore” becomes a tool that instills fear into the character, and in turn, the reader. Finally, the poem leaves the reader feeling hopeless despair as the narrator says his soul “shall be lifted-nevermore.”
In the poem “Annabel Lee” Poe uses the setting of the sepulcher to instill loneliness in the reader. The sepulcher is a place where death is the narrator is all alone, since he is the only one living at that place, which contributes to the effect of loneliness. Poe uses the main character to instill loneliness since he had his true love taken from him. The action contribute to instilling loneliness since the main character had his one true love taken from him by death. Now he stays alone at the sepulcher with the dead as his only companions.
The setting contributes greatly to the effect of instilling fear in the reader in the short story, “The Cast of the Amontillado”. The dark tombs contribute to the effect of fear in that they are dark and filled with the smell of death. The shortness of air at such a deep level also contributes to the effect, by having the reader relate to shortness of breath, which draws them into the story. Fortunato contributes to the fear by not suspecting what is about to befall him, then also by his hopeless screams. The narrator adds to the fear by talking about enjoying Fortunato’s screams. The main action that instills fear is when the narrator strikes and binds Fortunato and then buries him alive, this causes the reader to feel Fortunato’s fear when he was buried alive.
In the short story, “The Fall of the house of Usher” the house is the setting that contributes the most to instill the effect of fear in the reader. The description of the house, which it is very secluded, old, and everything around it is dead, contributes greatly to the effect of fear. Also, the tomb at the bottom of the house instills fear in the reader, since it keeps dead people inside of it. The characters that live in the house contribute to the effect through the fact that they all appear very old and very decrepit. The action instills fear in the reader by having the house become alive, and attack the innocent people inside. Also, the mystery of the house that is not fully explained for so long adds to the reader’s fear.
In each of these stories Poe used all of these elements to create the desired effects on the reader. They are used differently in each story, since one aspect is used more prominently to create the desired effect. Overall, Poe uses them each effectively.