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  1. 1. Edgar Allan Poe Melanie Foster English 1102 Professor Owens
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS • • • • • • • • About The Author Influential Factors Styles and Themes Selected Works “The Tell-Tale Heart” “The Black Cat” “The Raven” Credits
  3. 3. Edgar Allan Poe • Born in Boston on January 19, 1809 • Classic Literature genre • Critic, editor, poet, author who wrote many poems, tales, and short stories • Mainly known for his dark, depressing, gothic writings • Died on October 7, 1849
  4. 4. Influential Factors • Poe’s father, David Poe, was an alcoholic and left his mother and siblings • Poe’s mother, Elizabeth Poe, died in 1811 from tuberculosis • Edgar Allan Poe was continuously humiliated throughout his life
  5. 5. Influential Factors Continued • Excluded from society because of being poor and his debt • He began gambling and binge drinking in 1826 • Married his cousin, Virginia, in 1836 – She also died from tuberculosis in 1847
  6. 6. Style and Themes
  7. 7. Styles: •Gothic appealing •Dark romanticism genre •Dark •Dramatic •Some works incorporated humor Themes: •Untimely death •Insanity •Gore, gruesome violence •Depression •It is highly common for readers to view the narrators in Poe’s works as harsh, hateful, and heartless because of the cruel, violent acts that take place in some works.
  8. 8. Selected Works: • The Tell-Tale Heart • The Black Cat • The Raven
  9. 9. The Tell-Tale Heart
  10. 10. The Tell-Tale Heart • Untimely death, insanity, and gore are all seen throughout this tale • The narrator is annoyed by an old man’s eye – This leads the narrator to plan the death of the old man • Some critics believe Poe could be referring to the “evil eye” – Those with the evil eye are believed to have the power to harm others – The only way to destroy the evil eye is to destroy the person
  11. 11. The Tell-Tale Heart • The narrator’s obsession with the eye, or fear of the eye, leads to the horrific murder • Insanity plays a role because the fear and obsession with the eye grows so strong – Leads to the narrator’s dark side being triggered • Gore, gruesome violence is seen when the narrator uses rays from the lantern which results in a slow, painful, agonizing occurrence
  12. 12. The Tell-Tale Heart • Gore, insanity, and death are all also seen when the narrator describes how he continues to kill the old man – “In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done” (Poe 5).
  13. 13. The Black Cat
  14. 14. The Black Cat • The Black Cat revolves around the narrator’s wife and two cats • This short story also involves the themes death, insanity, and gore • Insanity is evident in that the narrator used to be very passionate and kind towards others, especially animals, in his younger years – His personality and mood changes are, what many critics believe, directly related to the narrator’s use of alcohol
  15. 15. The Black Cat • The intoxicated narrator is furious when the cat, named Pluto (who is his favorite pet), does not approach him when getting home; therefore, cuts one of the cat’s eyes – This comes as a shock because the narrator is supposed to love Pluto more than he does humans and is a pet that means a lot to the narrator – Many critics, such as Silverman believe that the narrator acts in such a manner because he feels betrayed by the his playmate (qtd. Piacentino 6) – Critics also link these actions of the narrator’s to Poe’s actual life where he was excluded from society and taunted by people, even his closest friends
  16. 16. The Black Cat • The narrator eventually kills Pluto with no remorse by hanging him from a limb on a tree using a noose • Critics believe the narrator is becoming more insane and notices another, very similar black cat and is hallucinating – This cat also only has one eye and eventually leads the narrator over the edge • Enraged with the second cat getting in his way, the narrator tries murdering the cat
  17. 17. The Black Cat • The narrator’s wife then blocks the axe from hitting the cat – Critics, such as Piacentino, believe that the events following this is because the narrator is jealous since his wife shows sensitivity and passion by interfering with the cat’s death • The wife is then violently murdered by the narrator “burying the axe into her brain” resulting in an immediate death – This symbolizes a gore, gruesome death due to the narrator’s own insanity
  18. 18. The Raven • “The Raven” also revolves around death, insanity, and gore. • The narrator is experience much grief, sorrow, and depression due to his lost love, Lenore • Insanity is highly evident throughout “The Raven” because the narrator is very much so depressed • Depression that the narrator experiences from the lost of his love leads to an unstable mental state
  19. 19. The Raven • An actual raven visits the narrator and in turn he makes himself believe that the raven somehow has communications with Lenore • The narrator gets highly angry and upset when asking the raven questions and the narrator says that it replies by saying “nevermore” • This makes the narrator angry because he wants to find out more about his lost love
  20. 20. The Raven • However, at the end of the poem the narrator expresses how he cannot get the raven to go away so he leaves it alone where it still sits above his chamber door • Critics, such as Michel, question whether or not the occurrence of the raven is actually real or if the narrator is making all of it up in his head due to his delicate mental state
  21. 21. Credits Fling, Jake. “The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe Literary Analysis.” Web. 13 Nov. 2013. <>. Michel, Selma. “A Sadness that Maddens the Soul: A Literary Analysis for The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.” Web. 13 Nov. 2013. <>. Miksanek, Tony. “Literature Annotations of Poe, Edgar Allan: The Tell-Tale Heart.” The GoldBug and Other Tales, 1991 ed. Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database. 18 Oct. 2004. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <>. Piacentino, Ed. “Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’ as Psychobiography: Some Reflections on the Narratological Dynamics.” Studies in Short Fiction 35.2 (1998): 153-167. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. < h&AN=6297585>. Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Major Tales and Poems. Michigan: Edward Brothers, 2006. 3-7. Print. Poe Museum. “Poe’s Life: Who is Edgar Allan Poe?” Richmond, VA: Author. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. <>. Womack, Martha. “Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’” Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <>.