Awash in a Sea of Dread
March 21st, 2004
The Poetics of Poe is in one word disturbing. He uses language and setting to immerse the reader in dreary, nightmare like scene. This is the case in most, if not all, of his poems and short stories. However, the majority of his stories are not supernatural. They fall more along the lines of the uncanny, such as The Tell-Tale Heart, there are exceptions. In the case of The Fall of the House of Usher, he uses setting and character description, to show the perversion of not only the house but the characters within. And lastly, Poe also uses plot, as is the case in The Cask of Amontillado.
The descriptions Poe uses in the setting of his stories is remarkably detailed, enough so that you cannot break free of the dreary, sometimes desolate place you find yourself placed into.
A prime example of this is in the beginning of his story; The Fall of The House of Usher. We open on the narrator, "During the whole of a dull, dark, dreary and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher" (138). The preceding passage gives the reader a feeling of lonely despair and a sense of deep foreboding. Poe went on to write about the feeling the narrator had when he spied this "first glimpse" of The House of Usher, "... a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit" (138). These and other descriptions lend themselves together as a whole to make it...