Poe: Above And Beyond Horror

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Edgar Allan Poe did not live an easy life while he was growing up. Early in his life he lost a mother along with a mother figure due to illness. Both of his father figures left him as well, so at the age of 16 he was an orphan with only writing to turn to. What is an adolescent boy to write about when he knows nothing except death, illness, and deprivation? Horror. His early life, in part, might explain Poe's bizarre stories and poems. However, it is apparent that Poe is more than just a horror storywriter; he uses his work to explain psychological and moral realities to his readers.

Poe displays horror throughout all of his stories. A person will kill another, as in the case of The Tell-Tale Heart where the insane man kills his neighbor because of his glass eye. After he strangles his neighbor to death, he dismembers him and buries him beneath the floorboards to cover up for his crime.

Poe also writes of mentally different people as in The Cask of Amontillado. The story tells of a man who sets a drunkard between two walls and then seals the walls up, leaving the drunkard to die from starvation and dehydration. This man is also crazy, he starts off the story by saying ""¦ when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge." Average human beings would not vow revenge solely due to an insult, mentally ill people, on the other hand, would be more apt to do this.

This is the style of writing, which Poe was well known for throughout the world. In most of his stories a person would die or be murdered for an odd reason if not in an odd way. However, this is not how Poe distanced himself...