Poe Essay<br />Pre 1914 Century Prose<br />
Examine the ways in which Edgar Allan Poe creates and sustains tension in at least two short stories of your choice.<br />
Examine the ways in which Edgar Allan Poe creates and sustains tension in at least two short stories of your choice.<br />
1000-1500 words<br />Typed (12 pt) or hand written<br />Must include some awareness of the social and historical context i...
Your response must follow the 10 ‘Golden rules’ of good analytical essay writing<br />
List the various ways that Poe creates and sustains tension.<br />
<ul><li>Limited number of characters
A plot involving haunting or suggested supernatural events
Withheld information
Use of anaphora to suggest the narrator’s troubled state of mind
A brief and well paced series of events
Use of figurative language
Strong descriptive passages
Ambiguous and frightening settings
He uses darkness and shadow to good effect
It is unclear where or when the events occur so they are universalized
Staccato sentence structures and caesura used in moments of climax
1st person unreliable narrative perspective
Symbolic objects from the Gothic tradition
The tales end soon after the point of highest tension to avoid anticlimax
Poe taps into his audience’s historically unique interests and fears
He often alludes to the ‘imp of the perverse’ which we all can identify with</li></li></ul><li>Can you now find ways of gr...
The features of the short story as a genre lends itself to the creation of tension.<br />
The tales’ plots often involve uncanny events or gothic nightmarish scenarios which inevitably create tension – often a su...
Poe’s choice of setting (in time and place) is not arbitrary but has been selected to ensure an atmosphere and tone conduc...
Poe often withholds information in order to control the reader’s response or to ensure that his carefully crafted tension ...
Poe uses symbolic objects or images associated with the gothic tradition to further build an atmosphere of dread.<br />
Poe’s choice of narrative perspective often ensures tension – he is inclined to employ a first person unreliable narrator ...
Poe’s writing style further reinforces the tension he has already created.<br />
Notice that in the process of planning the content of the essay we have generated a series of topic sentences which can be...
The final planning stages are vital – we must decide on an order that will allow the essay to logically flow from one poin...
Re-visit the original stories to cull out the evidence we will use to support our points – <br />Remember you can directly...
You can assume that the examiner knows the stories as well as you do (or better!) so there is no need to retell the events...
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Poe Essay Support

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A slideshow to support first year GCSE students to write a coursework essay examining Poe's use of tension in his short stories. It follows on from my slideshow 'The 10 Golden Rules of essay writing'

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Poe Essay Support

  1. 1. Poe Essay<br />Pre 1914 Century Prose<br />
  2. 2. Examine the ways in which Edgar Allan Poe creates and sustains tension in at least two short stories of your choice.<br />
  3. 3. Examine the ways in which Edgar Allan Poe creates and sustains tension in at least two short stories of your choice.<br />
  4. 4. 1000-1500 words<br />Typed (12 pt) or hand written<br />Must include some awareness of the social and historical context in which the stories were written<br />
  5. 5. Your response must follow the 10 ‘Golden rules’ of good analytical essay writing<br />
  6. 6. List the various ways that Poe creates and sustains tension.<br />
  7. 7. <ul><li>Limited number of characters
  8. 8. A plot involving haunting or suggested supernatural events
  9. 9. Withheld information
  10. 10. Use of anaphora to suggest the narrator’s troubled state of mind
  11. 11. A brief and well paced series of events
  12. 12. Use of figurative language
  13. 13. Strong descriptive passages
  14. 14. Ambiguous and frightening settings
  15. 15. He uses darkness and shadow to good effect
  16. 16. It is unclear where or when the events occur so they are universalized
  17. 17. Staccato sentence structures and caesura used in moments of climax
  18. 18. 1st person unreliable narrative perspective
  19. 19. Symbolic objects from the Gothic tradition
  20. 20. The tales end soon after the point of highest tension to avoid anticlimax
  21. 21. Poe taps into his audience’s historically unique interests and fears
  22. 22. He often alludes to the ‘imp of the perverse’ which we all can identify with</li></li></ul><li>Can you now find ways of grouping them into categories?<br />These will become your paragraph topics in due course.<br />
  23. 23. The features of the short story as a genre lends itself to the creation of tension.<br />
  24. 24. The tales’ plots often involve uncanny events or gothic nightmarish scenarios which inevitably create tension – often a supernatural influence is inferred but is rarely confirmed..<br />
  25. 25. Poe’s choice of setting (in time and place) is not arbitrary but has been selected to ensure an atmosphere and tone conducive to his tales of suspense.<br />
  26. 26. Poe often withholds information in order to control the reader’s response or to ensure that his carefully crafted tension is not weakened – an unknown mystery is often more compelling than a revelation, however horrible or macabre.<br />
  27. 27. Poe uses symbolic objects or images associated with the gothic tradition to further build an atmosphere of dread.<br />
  28. 28. Poe’s choice of narrative perspective often ensures tension – he is inclined to employ a first person unreliable narrator who often is mentally impaired or in a state of great agitation.<br />
  29. 29. Poe’s writing style further reinforces the tension he has already created.<br />
  30. 30. Notice that in the process of planning the content of the essay we have generated a series of topic sentences which can be shaped and used to open each paragraph.<br />
  31. 31. The final planning stages are vital – we must decide on an order that will allow the essay to logically flow from one point to the next.<br />Then we must…<br />
  32. 32. Re-visit the original stories to cull out the evidence we will use to support our points – <br />Remember you can directly quote using brief and carefully selected sections from the text or illustrate with specific examples.<br />
  33. 33. You can assume that the examiner knows the stories as well as you do (or better!) so there is no need to retell the events in an effort to clarify the evidence – just stick to analysis because that’s where the marks are waiting!<br />
  34. 34. Your plan should include a few simple notes about what explanation you will make following your evidence – how does your example support your point?<br />This step will make the actual writing of the essay so much easier and save lots of redrafting later!<br />
  35. 35. Finally, think about how and where you can most naturally include a reference to the historical or cultural context in which the tales were written.<br />You could introduce that material in a number of ways without breaking the flow of your essay…<br />
  36. 36. <ul><li>Interestingly, Poe…
  37. 37. It is worth noting that Poe…
  38. 38. It should be remembered that many of Poe’s tales were written…
  39. 39. There may arguably be an autobiographical influence at play here because Poe…
  40. 40. In the 1840’s, when Poe wrote these particular tales, …
  41. 41. It is notable that Poe’s readers…
  42. 42. Poe was no doubt influenced by…
  43. 43. It would seem that Poe may have been driven to write about such events because…</li></li></ul><li>In the opening paragraph, acknowledge the topic (tension) and offer a brief tour of the places you will take the reader (don’t just list but make your sentences flow)<br />Don’t waffle – make a strong first impression.<br />
  44. 44. Because you’ve made a comprehensive plan, the writing of the essay should be relatively straight forward.<br />Use PEE burgers, have a list of linking devices on hand and use then both within and between paragraphs where appropriate.<br />
  45. 45. Nevertheless,…<br />We can see, then, that…<br />Furthermore…<br />Thus…<br />With this in mind…<br />Another means by which…<br />However,…<br />Consequently…<br />Similarly…<br />In contrast… <br />Moreover<br />This is further illustrated by…<br />A good example of this occurs in…<br />This is perhaps most apparent in…<br />The tension is sustained, then, because…<br />Likewise…<br />It is apparent from this example that…<br />Arguably,…<br />
  46. 46. Some additional hints when writing your essay:<br /><ul><li>Don’t use ‘you’ – instead ‘we’, ‘the reader’, ‘one’, ‘the audience’
  47. 47. All titles must be clearly identified ‘-’
  48. 48. Spell the author and titles of the tales correctly!</li></li></ul><li>More additional hints when writing your essay:<br /><ul><li>Embed brief quotations within the flow of your sentence
  49. 49. You can abbreviate longer quotations “-…-”
  50. 50. Stick to your plan and express yourself clearly</li></li></ul><li>Even more additional hints when writing your essay: (I am so generous)<br /><ul><li>Use the topic terms ‘tension’, ‘create’ and ‘sustain’ several times to show you’re still on track.
  51. 51. Vary the way in which you refer to Poe to avoid unnecessary repetition – ‘Poe’, ‘Edgar Allan Poe’, ‘the writer’, ‘the author’. (NOT Edgar!)
  52. 52. Use the terminology appropriate to analysing literature.</li></li></ul><li>When you come to write your final paragraph, remember to avoid just repeating everything you’ve looked at as a list – instead come to some kind of final considered observation about how Poe DOES create and sustain tension.<br />Is he successful?<br />Do the techniques, when used together, have an impact greater than the sum of their parts?<br />What is your final opinion on the subject?<br />
  53. 53. Having finished your essay, let it ‘incubate’ for a while before you re-read it. You’ll see your work better with fresh eyes.<br />Read it out aloud to pick up errors in sentence structure and punctuation – does it make sense?<br />Don’t let your spellchecker replace your brain – check it YOURSELF – the computer doesn’t care what final grade you get!<br />
  54. 54. Organise your time so that you don’t rush any of these steps – a good essay takes time and effort – but the result will be worth it.<br />Ask a friend to also proof read your submission – perhaps they will see something you missed?<br />
  55. 55. Finally – weird as it might sound, if you plan well and know what you want to communicate (it’s hard to write an essay if you have nothing of worth to say) essay writing can actually be a rewarding experience – to clearly express our thoughts on paper in a precise and controlled way is satisfying.<br />So give it your best shot, be patient and before you know it…<br />
  56. 56. You’ll become a force for good in the world, wielding words to bring light where once the darkness of ignorance lingered!<br />May the FORCE be with you!<br />Hmm<br />Hmm, Essay Master you will<br />Become…<br />

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