The Narrative Techniques of Poe

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, February 1996

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The short story writer which I have chosen to research is Edgar Allen

Poe. After reading one of his works in class, I realized that his mysterious style

of writing greatly appealed to me. Although many critics have different views on

Poe's writing style, I think that Harold Bloom summed it up best when he said,

'Poe has an uncanny talent for exposing our common nightmares and hysteria

lurking beneath our carefully structured lives. ' ( 7) For me, this is done through

his use of setting and narrative style.


        In many of Poe's works, setting is used to paint a dark and gloomy picture

in our minds. I think that this was done deliberatly by Poe so that the reader can

make a connection between darkness and death. For example, in the 'Pit and

the Pendulum', the setting is originally pitch black. As the story unfolds, we see

how the setting begins to play an important role in how the narrator discovers

the many ways he may die.

Although he must rely on his senses alone to feel

his surroundings, he knows that somewhere in this dark, gloomy room, that

death awaits him. Richard Wilbur tells us how fitting the chamber in 'The Pit

and the Pendulum' actually was. 'Though he lives on the brink of the pit, on the

very verge of the plunge into unconciousness, he is still unable to disengage

himself from the physical and temperal world. The physical oppreses him in the

shape of lurid graveyard visions; the temporal oppreses him in the shape of an

enormous and deadly pendulum. It is altogether appropriate, then, that this

chamber should be constricting and cruelly angular' (63).

        Setting is also an important characteristic is Poe's 'The Fall of the House

of Usher'. The images he gives...