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Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe. Anna Selles. Biography. Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston Massachusetts Son of actors Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins and David Poe His father deserted the family soon after he was born and his mother died a year later

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Edgar Allan Poe

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  1. Edgar Allan Poe Anna Selles

  2. Biography • Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston Massachusetts • Son of actors Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins and David Poe • His father deserted the family soon after he was born and his mother died a year later • He was taken in by the family of John Allan, a wealthy Virginia merchant

  3. Biography • The Allans provided for Poe’s education • In 1826 he entered the University of Virginia where he studied Latin and poetry • While in school he accumulated large gambling debts and his stepfather refused to pay them • He was forced to leave school • In 1827 he joined the army • While in the army he published his first volume of poetry Tamerlane and Other Poems

  4. Biography • In 1829 he published a second volume Al Araaf • The following year Poe’s stepfather helped him get into the West Point Military Academy • He was expelled within a year though for academic violations and this resulted in a permanent break with his stepfather • Poe moved to Baltimore to live with his aunt Maria Clemm • She was mother of Virginia Clemm (1822-1847) who would become Poe’s wife at the age of 13 • They got married in 1836 and moved to New York City

  5. Biography • Poe continued writing and working as editor for several magazines, but could hardly support himself • After his third book of poetry, Poems , failed to bring him money or recognition, he began to write fiction • Five of his short stories were published in newspapers in 1832 • In 1938 he published his only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym

  6. Biography • Poe’s short stories gained him some recognition and his poem “The Raven” was greeted with enthusiasm • Despite this he was never able to escape from poverty • In 1847 his wife Virginia died • Two years later in 1849 Poe died alone and penniless

  7. Writing Style • Over the years some writers and critics have harshly criticized Poe’s writing • Other have praised him for his use of vivid imagery, sound effects, and for exploring the dark side of humanity • Poe is also said to be the father of detective fiction • Many of his stories foreshadowed science fiction, horror, and fantasy

  8. Literary Period • Edgar Allan Poe wrote during the Romantic period from 1800-1860 • The genre of writing included character sketches, slave narrative, poetry, and short stories • Big ideas of this time period were the freedom of imagination and the integrity of nature

  9. Historical Context • Poe was writing when publishing greatly expanded and the industrial revolution brought new ideas • Around the beginning of the 1800s the printing of newspapers doubled and many more people read them • Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo, the Great Depression begins in the 30s, and the Californian Gold Rush begins

  10. Historical Context • In the early 1800s many other well known people were born including, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson, and Charles Dickens

  11. The Raven • The speaker, is a man who is lamenting the death of his lover, Lenore • He is reading a book of ancient stories to occupy his mind, but a tapping noise interrupts him • He opens the door to his bedroom but only sees darkness • The tapping continues and he opens the shutter of the window and discovers the raven • It flies in and lands on the bust of Pallas (Athena) • The speaker begins talking to the raven but it says “Nevermore” to all his thoughts and wishes • At the end of the poem the speaker asks if he will ever see his beloved again and the raven say never again (“nevermore”), even in heaven

  12. The Raven • Narrator- a man who has lost his love, a women called Lenore, he lonely and depressed and possibly mentally unstable • Atmosphere- Poe creates a very gloomy, sorrowful mood. He establishes the mood by the time of night, the bleak weather, and how the speaker is trying to forget his sorrow in books • He also uses words like weary, dreary, bleak, dying, sorrow, sad, darkness, stillness, mystery, grave, lonely, grim, ghastly, and gaunt. • Setting- the chamber of a house at midnight

  13. The Raven • “The Raven” has a musical effect when read. To achieve this Poe uses rhyming: • internal rhyme- words rhyming in the same line • “Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December” • End rhyme- a word at the end of one line that rhymes with a word at the end of another line

  14. The Raven • Lines 2, 4, 5, and 6 rhyme in each stanza • Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrowFrom my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore- For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-   Nameless here for evermore.   • Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,   "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I imploreBut the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,   And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,   That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-   Darkness there, and nothing more. 

  15. The Raven • Poe also uses alliteration, consonance, and assonance to give his poem musical quality • Alliteration- the repetition of similar sounds, usually consonants at the beginnings of words • “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping.” • “From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore-”

  16. The Raven • Consonance- the repetition of consonant sounds at the ends of words • “As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.” • “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’ ” • Assonance- the repetition of vowel sounds • “And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain” • “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary”

  17. The Raven • Metaphor-The gaze of the raven is compared to a fire. • “To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;” • Biblical allusion- Jeremiah 8:22- is there any cure for my depression? • “Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!".

  18. The Raven • Personification- of the lamp • “On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er” • Reference to Greek mythology- the narrator believes the raven is from the River Styx in the Underworld- which is where the dead are. Pluto is lord of the Underworld. The raven is more than a raven. • “Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore- Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"

  19. The Tell-Tale Heart • The narrator is obsessed with the vulture-like eye of old man he lives with • He decides to get rid of the eye by killing the old man • He smothers the old man, dismembers the body, and then hides it under the floorboards • The police come to investigate and the narrator tries to keep his cool • He thinks he hears the beating of the old man’s heart • He panics, thinking that the police know his secret • He rips up the floorboards and confesses his crime

  20. The Tell-Tale Heart • Narrator- he is an “unreliable narrator” – he either can’t or won’t tell us what “really” happened • The narrator is trying to prove his sanity • He admits that he has an intensely powerful sense of hearing • “I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell.” • He is obviously sick in his mind and body • Unreliable narrators are interesting because they represent a basic part of being human- we all get confused and do and say things we don’t mean to • This confusions is taken to the extreme in The Tell-tale Heart

  21. The Tell-Tale Heart • Writing Style- there are many very short precise sentences • “Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me.” • The narrator sees his hypersensitivity as proof for his sanity which allows him to tell the story in a precise and complete way • Poe keeps out all extra details in his writing to show the obsessions of the narrator- the old man’s eye, the heartbeat

  22. The Tell-Tale Heart • In The Tell-Tale Heart the eye of the old man has a very important part in the story • The narrator is completely obsessed with this eye • He sees the eye as completely separate from the old man • This allows the narrator to murder the old man while saying that he still loves him • A central contradiction in the story is the fact that the narrator can love and hate at the same time

  23. The Tell-Tale Heart • The narrator’s heightened sense of sound is also important because it eventually overcomes him • It proves that he can’t tell between real and imagined sounds • He obsesses over the old man’s very quiet heart beat, but doesn’t pay any attention to his shrieks which wake up the neighbors and bring the police • In the end we see the more he insists that he is calm, the more he cannot escape the beating of his own heart, which he actually mistakes as the old mans

  24. The Tell-Tale Heart • Poe uses this whole story to explore how something in your mind can completely control you • As the story goes along we can see how the narrator is losing his grasp on reality • In the end the narrator’s paranoia and guilt make it inevitable that he will give himself away

  25. Bibliography • http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides2/Raven.html#Text • http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/poestories/context.html • http://www.enotes.com/raven • http://www.online-literature.com/poe/ • http://www.shmoop.com/tell-tale-heart/old-man-eye-symbol.html • Prentice Hall Literature- The American Experience

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