Cash 1Box # 108Sandra CashProfessor BouchardENG 132Paper # 3 Insights into Poe’s WritingsFebruary 1, 2012 Insights into Poe’s Writings Poe’s stories are well written, even though they are morbid. Poe is great at setting themood of his stories. He makes the mood gloomy, depressing, no hope, and dark. This helps inforeshadowing what is to come next in the story. In the perspective of new historicism, Poe has acommon theme in his stories about people being buried alive. In Poe’s day, it was so commonthat people were being buried alive that people made a “Society for the Prevention of PeopleBeing Buried Alive” ("Premature Burial In The Nineteenth Century"). Also, when Poe haswomen in his stories he does not give them any characteristics, they are rather plain and boring.This is also seen in the perspective of feminist, but in a negative way. Poe has this great talent at setting the mood for his stories. For example in “The Fall ofthe House of Usher,” he writes this: “… upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain – upon the bleak walls – upon the vacant eye – like windows – upon a few ranks sedges – and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees – with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium – the bitter lapse into everyday life – the hideous dropping off of the view. There
Cash 2 was a sinking, a sickening of the heart – an unredeemed dreariness…” (Lawrense, p. 149)This just gives you a feeling of hopelessness, depressing, and sad place. He also uses this forforeshadowing. A good example of this is in “A Cask of Amontillado,” he again sets the mood bythis, “Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault over head, in the fashion ofthe great catacombs of Paris.” (Lawrense, p. 146) This foresahoweds what is going to happen toFortunato. Poe also has a common theme that the characters are buried alive. From the perspectiveof new historicism, this is probably because in Poe’s day this was a common. Doctors back thendid not know a very accurate way to tell if a person was actually dead or if a person was in acoma. Due to this, doctors accidentally pronounced a person dead when they were not dead. Thisbecame so common that people founded a “Society for the Prevention of People Being BuriedAlive” ("Premature Burial In The Nineteenth Century"). I think Poe just played up on this fear,when writing “Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” When Poe has women characters, he makes them very plain, flat, with no personality.This can be seen through two perspectives, first the new historicism perspective and then thefeminist. Through the historicism perspective, this is still the time where women are supposed tobe good wives, take care of the kids, and stay in the house. This is probably why Poe does notgive his women characters any personality, and makes the flat. In “The Fall of the House ofUsher,” the sister of Roderick seems to be more of an after thought. She is only mentioned a fewtimes throughout the story. When Roderick says that she was buried alive, trying to get out, hementions her in almost as an afterthought. Another good example is in “The Black Cat.” Thenarrator’s wife is only mentioned again only a few times. The narrator says he has a wife while he
Cash 3talks about how his life used to be, how good of a wife she was to him even when it must havebeen hard, and lastly when he kills her. A feminist would be greatly upset with Poe; he does not give his women characters anypersonality, he makes them keeps them in their stereotypical places, and they are weak. Therelationship between men and women in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” is a brother and sisterthat live together since the sister never got married. Once again, this implies that women are notallowed to live on their own and they have to have a husband. Another example of relationshipbetween men and women is in “The Black Cat,” the relationship is between a husband and wife,in which the wife is a good wife that stays at home. Another issue for feminist would be that themain characters in Poe’s stories is always the men, the women are more of a side thought.Poe is very talented writer, his stories are very well written, even though they can be a bitgruesome. He has a special talent for setting the mood of his stories. He makes the mooddepressing, filled with no hope, and dark. He also uses this to foreshadow what is to come next inthe story. Poe has a common theme in his stories about people being buried alive. The perspectiveof new historicism could explain this, since it was something that did happen in Poe’s day.Another thing that is could be explain by the culture of his day is the fact that he does not give hiswomen character’s any depth or personality. This would and does offend a person who has aperspective of feminist. It makes women look weak, and that their place is in the house.
Cash 4Works Cited Poe, A. Edger "Cask of Amontillado" DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Madison: McGraw Hill, 2008.144-148. Poe, A. Edger "The Fall of the House of Usher" DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Madison: McGraw Hill, 2008.149-161. Poe, A. Edger "The Black Cat" DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Madison: McGraw Hill, 2008.137-143. "Premature Burial In The Nineteenth Century." Web. 1 Feb 2012. <http://www.members.tripod.com/DespiteThis/death/prebur.htm>.