The Premature Burial Essay Research Paper Death

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The Premature Burial Essay, Research Paper Death, agony, fear, and horror are just a few words one could use to describe the majority of the works by Edgar Allan Poe. It would be unjust to say that The Premature Burial does not live up to that standard. The title, The Premature Burial leaves little to the imagination as to what the reader is about to embark on, but what the title alone can t convey is the amount of terror involved in Poe s horrific vision of literally being buried before ones time. It is a chilling short story that is presented in the early to mid 1800s, told in the first person narrative. The Premature Burial is unique because it ends oddly on an up beat, a twist not found in most Poe tales. This short story achieves the effect of taking the reader to his

deep and damp grave and permitting the reader to see the darker side of reality, a trait for which Poe has become so famous. The Narrator, who assumes no name, begins by setting the mood by discussing with the reader the fascinations humans have of reading true accounts of horrible events such as the Plague of London and the Earthquake at Lisbon. The Narrator continues on to say, that even though people would like to read them, there are some themes that are too horrible, too perverse for people to actually print. One of these truths is premature burial, a phobia the Narrator suffers from intensely which is evident after the first page. The Narrator s reason for his strange phobia is due to a disease that he is afflicted with, known as catalepsy. This disease causes a person who

appears to be in normal health to slowly slip into a coma. The slips in and out of conciseness are rarely forewarned and duration can be just as unpredictable in its manner. The mild case can be just one day where your heart still beats slowly and you still show signs of life. The extreme case is when the coma can last months and the body appears so close to death that not even the best doctors or the most rigorous tests can tell the difference. This fear of being mistakenly buried alive possesses the Narrator to the point of almost insanity. The Narrator goes farther to justify his unusual and life-consuming phobia by citing examples that he has taken the time to find. He tells of a story not very long ago, which the reader would have to assume sometime around the mid 1800 s. It

s about a lawyer s wife who supposedly had died and even became rigid after three days to furthermore show proof of actual death. She was put in the family tomb on the fourth day because they were afraid of decomposition. The tomb was left undisturbed for three years when the lawyer had it opened to retrieve a sarcophagus from inside only to find his wife s coffin shattered on the floor and the bones of his wife laying at the door as if trying to escape. On a lighter side, in another story it is a young woman from France in 1810 who is forced to marry a rich and distinguished man instead of the poor man she loves. After the marriage she dies a mysterious death and is placed into the earth. As an act of love the poor man she wanted to marry comes to her grave that night and

unearthed her coffin so he could cut off her hair. To his surprise he finds her to be alive in her coffin so he carries her away to his house where they fall in love again. They move to the United States so no one knows she is not really dead. Eventually the wealthy husband learns of this and wants his wife back but the court declares the wedding in now invalid so the couple lives together happily ever after. The Narrator uses a few more stories of premature burial, from falling off a horse to a heart attack, to further justify his terror. When the Narrator finishes his stories he starts in on his own existence with the knowledge that this could someday happen to him. He tells how he used to be able to lead a basically normal life but as of lately it is all that he can think of,