The Purloined Letter By Edgar Allen Poe
Discussion Questions • Is The Purloined Letter a successful detective story? Why or Why not? • What role does imagination play in the story? At what point do characters appear to be using (or misusing) their imaginations? • What are the Prefect’s strengths and weaknesses as a detective? • What kind of practical advice does the story seem to offer about reason, logic, and emotion? Does it really seem to be recommending the approach of a combined poet and mathematician? • What effect does Poe appear to achieve by telling the story using primarily dialogue instead of action? Why might he choose to tell the story in such a way? • Why are the characters not fully developed? Are they supposed to be real characters, or are they simply talking heads that Poe is using to develop ideas?
Discussion Questions Continued • How might Dupin be a reflection of Poe in real life? • What Poe symbols did you see in this story? • What elements cross over between Poe’s gothic/horror stories and his detective stories? How are these genres similar? How are they different? • What might a theme of this story be? (Does not have to be a Poe theme) – justify. • Why does everyone in the story seem so uninterested in what the letter actually contains? Is there any good reason to assume that the scandal is sexual in nature?
After watching… • Compare and Contrast Poe’s The Purloined Letter and Wishbone’s The Pawloined Letter. • What similarities did these two stories have? • Why was it important that these details were the same? • What differences did they have? • How did these differences affect, change (positively or negatively), impact your interpretation and/or understanding of the story? • How effective was Wishbone at making a comparison between Poe’s original work and the situation with Joe? • Synthesize a theme that is applicable to both versions of this story as shown through the video. • Which version did a better job at conveying meaning, purpose, and message? Support your thought with specific examples.