Sunday, March 20, 2011

Literature by Edgar Allan Poe


Poe is widely known for his literature in the genre of horror. We will be discussing three of Poe's masterpieces: "The Raven", "The Cask of Amontillado", and "The Tell-Tale Heart", each containing its own unique way of making the reader feel uneasy.
"The Raven" begins by explaining that the narrator is "weak and tired" yet cannot fall asleep. We soon find out that the narrator is depressed because he lost his love, Lenore. He then hears a knocking at the door. He works up the courage to go to the door and see who is there, but finds nothing but "darkness." The narrator then yells, "Lenore?" hoping that his love has returned. After receiving no reply, he returns inside and opens a window. An unknown bird then flies into his home and upon closer inspection it is (you guessed it) a raven. The narrator begins to ask the bird questions and the bird always replies, "Nevermore." The narrator continues to ask the bird questions, even though he knows what the bird's reply will be. The narrator finally asks the raven whether he will ever see his love, Lenore, again. The bird obviously replies with, "Nevermore." Therefore, it is concluded that the narrator will always be without his true love, leaving his soul trapped for eternity.
"The Cask of Amontillado" is a story of revenge between Montresor and Fortunato. Montresor begins the story by saying Fortunato has inflicted a "thousand injuries and insults" upon Montresor's familly. Montresor takes advantage of Fortunato's love for wine and convinces him to come verify whether or not what Montresor possesses is true Amontillado. Fortunato follows Montresor down into his vaults. Montresor cleverly gives Fortunato several tastes of different wines along the way to the prestigious Amontillado. By the time that the two arrive at the Amontillado (that is not even present), Fortunato is drunk, giving Montresor the opportunity to chain Fortunato to the wall of the crypts. Montresor then proceeds to wall in Fortunato as they both partake in what seems to be a friendly conversation until Fortunato realises what is happening. Fortunato then begs Montresor to stop, but to no avail.
"The Tell-Tale Heart" is the story of a murder. An unknown narrator begins the story by stating he has killed a man but plans to defend his sanity. The narrator says he had been observing an old man sleeping every night for a week and is terrified of the man's abnormal eye. On the eighth night, the narrator randomly believes that it is the correct time to kill the old man. The old man awakens in terror and yelps before the narrator has the chance to kill him. The narrator quickly goes through with the task of murdering the old man. He then dismembers the body and hides the parts under the floorboards. Police soon show up, saying that the neighbors heard a yelp. The narrator remains chatty and at ease; the police suspect nothing of the man. However, the narrator then begins to hear a thumping and soon assumes its the old man's heart beating beneath the floorboards. The narrator becomes paranoid and confesses to the police, telling them to lift the floorboards for evidence. He is then convicted but believes that he is not insane, he did not act as if a mad man would.

Question: Which of Poe's three pieces invoked the most uneasiness or terror in you and why?

10 comments:

Steve S 13-14 said...

The Raven gave me a sense of sadness for the man, to experience that kind of grief would drive me to madness I believe.

David G. 13-14 said...

I agree that if I was in the position of losing the only love of my life I would probably find life very pointless and almost useless.

Kaitlyn S. 13-14 said...

For me I would say the The Tell-Tale Heart. The way Poe words things in that story is very creepy. It seems like everything is silent and of course you hear the man's guilt growing. I read it a long time ago but the way he builds up the guilt is just eerie. Another thing that makes this story creepy is the ease at which he murders the man and how he gets rid of the body so gruesomely.

David G. 13-14 said...

The way that Poe uses words to make the reader uneasy is extraordinary. It is definitely noticeable in The Tell-Tale Heart and I totally agree that the word eerie describes this extremely well.

Erika B 13-14 said...

I would have to say the The Tell-Tale Heart invokes the most uneasiness in me. While the narrator killing the man and putting his body under the floorboards terrifies me, the fact that he creeps over this man for days while he's sleeping and without him knowing scares me even more. Many stories involve death, but I find the backround that happens before the killing can sometimes be even more scary.

Justin B. 11-12 said...

The Cask of Amontillado freaks me out the most mainly for the method in which Fortunato was killed. I find it scary that Montresor can invite Fortunato into his house, get him drunk, chain him to a wall (in the crypt no less) then casually carry on a friendly conversation with him while he builds a wall around Fortunato. This is no crime of passion like a stabbing or beating to death. It is a cold blooded premeditated murder that took time to plan and a lot of time to execute.

Cieran B. 5-6 said...

I believe the tell-tale heart invoked the most uneasiness for it shows the paranoia and mind state of a murderer and psychopath which is really terrifying itself.

Fritz J. 13-14 said...

I agree with Cieran about how the tell-tale heart is the most unsettling.

Vanessa D. 13-14 said...

I would say the Tell-Tale Heart because killing someone and dismembering them is just freaky to me. And all the paranoia sort of creeps me out too, but in general I like the story.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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