The Narrative Techniques Of Poe Essay Research

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The Narrative Techniques Of Poe Essay, Research Paper The short story writer which I have chosen to research is Edgar Allen Poe. After reading one of his works in class, I realized that his mysterious style of writing greatly appealed to me. Although many critics have different views on Poe’s writing style, I think that Harold Bloom summed it up best when he said, “Poe has an uncanny talent for exposing our common nightmares and hysteria lurking beneath our carefully structured lives. ” ( 7) For me, this is done through his use of setting and narrative style. In many of Poe’s works, setting is used to paint a dark and gloomy picture in our minds. I think that this was done deliberatly by Poe so that the reader can make a connection between darkness and death. For

example, in the “Pit and the Pendulum”, the setting is originally pitch black. As the story unfolds, we see how the setting begins to play an important role in how the narrator discovers the many ways he may die. Although he must rely on his senses alone to feel his surroundings, he knows that somewhere in this dark, gloomy room, that death awaits him. Richard Wilbur tells us how fitting the chamber in “The Pit and the Pendulum” actually was. “Though he lives on the brink of the pit, on the very verge of the plunge into unconciousness, he is still unable to disengage himself from the physical and temperal world. The physical oppreses him in the shape of lurid graveyard visions; the temporal oppreses him in the shape of an enormous and deadly pendulum. It is altogether

appropriate, then, that this chamber should be constricting and cruelly angular” (63). Setting is also an important characteristic is Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”. The images he gives us such as how both the Usher family and the Usher mansion are crumbling from inside waiting to collapse, help us to connect the background with the story. Vincent Buranelli says that “Poe is able to sysatin an atomosphere which is dark and dull. This is one of the tricks which he laregely derived from the tradition of the Gothic tale” (79). The whole setting in the story provides us with a feeling of melancholy. The Usher mansion appears vacant and barren. The same is true for the narrator. As we picture in our minds the extreme decay and decomposistion, we can feelas though

the life around it is also crumbling. Narration is also an element in Poe’s short story style that appears to link all of the stories together. He has a type of creativity which lets the reader see into the mind of the narrator or the main character of the story. Many of the characters in Poe’s stories seem to be insane. The narrator often seems to have some type of psychological problems. For exapmle, In Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado, ” the story opens with a first person narrator (Montresor) speaking about the planning of Fortunato’s death. By the anger and remorse that Montresor has for Fortunato, one might think that this was a recent incident. It is not until the very end of the story that we realize, that the entire event occurred fifty years ago. David Herbert

Lawrence says, “To the characters in Poe’s story, hate is as inordinate as live. The lust of hate is the inordinate desire to consume and unspeakably possess the soul of the hated one, just as the lust of live is the desire to possess or be possessed be the beloved, uterly. ” (33). Poe’s stories often have narrators that feel extreme hate or extreme love for another character in the story. Another example of Poe’s narrative style is seen in his story entitled,” The Black Cat”, where the narrator seems to have an obsession with pets. He has one “special” pet which is a black cat. Although their original relationship with each other is one of respect and love, the situation soon changes. The narrator becomes somewhat possessed with the hate for the car. He turns