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Edgar Allen Poe


Obituary-by Reverand Henry Griswold-October 9, 1849
Edgar Allen Poe is dead.  He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday.  This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it.  The poet was well known personally or by reputation, in all this country: He had readers in England, and in several of the states of Continental Europe: but he had few or no friends: and the regrets for his death will be suggested principally by the consideration that in him literary art lost one of its most brilliant, but erratic stars."

When you read Poe please look for symbols that he uses in his works. I borrowed this imformation from Poe uses recurrent motifs like the following:
Eyes--often referred to as an orb.  The eye has long been concidered the eye of the soul.  In the "Fall of the House of Usher" Poe describes the windows (eyes) of the house.
Heart--The organ necessary for sustaining life.  Poe uses the heart in a Romantic sense and not the physical one. 
Vortex--A spinning cycle like the stairway, ocean or as in "The Cask of Amontillado" the vortex is the downward travel into the catacombs. 
Pre-Mature burial--Many of Poes stories and poems mention being buried alive in one way or another whether physically or mentally.
Narration--Most of his works are told by an un-named narrator.
Dreams---The inner workings of the mind or subconscious state.  Not all are nice dreams either.  Nightmares that make the reader wonder if it's a dream or reality.   The dreams in the stories are of a recurrent type that haunts the character. 
Time-- Poe uses ambiguous times. Time is universal to the reader.  He is especially noted for referring to midnight at the "witching hour".  He uses subtle hints to a clock or ticking and usually his tales occur at dusk or dawn.  If he does use specific times, they are 3:00,6:00,9:00 or 12:00.
The Jester--A joker or a fool.  Usually with clowns clothing and a hat with bells.(Cask of Amontillado) where he is not only dressed up in a Jesters outfit for the carnival that night, but he is also made a fool of.
Twin Characters--Two sides of a character.  Good and Evil.  Dark and Light. Doppelganger.  Many of the characters that Poe writes about have dual characteristics in their personality.  Is Poe is reminding his readers that we all have the "other side" lurking about?  Do each of us have an "evil twin"?
Poe Women--The women that are in Poe works are usually the same.  Too good to be had and they aren't because they all die!  They are too beautiful and untouchable.  They die a young while innocent.  Tragedy and women are more than a likely scenario in Poe stories.  (Anabelle, Lenore-The Raven, Helen and Eleonora)
Animals-- Black Cats, Black Ravens.  Typically animals in his stories are evil. 
Puzzles--Poe is a great detective writer.  Anyone who reads Poe knows that his stories are not all doom and gloom.  There are many stories like "The Gold Bug", "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and others.  
Below a small collection of Poe.  The best way to read Poe is snuggled up in bed with a cup of hot cocoa and in silence. Take the phone off the hook!  Printing out each story or poem and spend an evening reading one the best writers of all time.  Enjoy!!

Cask of Amontillado

A Dream Within a Dream

Annabel Lee

The Fall of the House of Usher

The Raven

The Tell Tale Heart