"The Purloined Letter" by Edgar Allan Poe.

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Throughout "The Purloined Letter," Edgar Allan Poe contrasts the intuitive, poetic deduction of Dupin with the orderly, mathematical logic of the Prefect. When Dupin's poetic logic outwits the Prefect's, Poe appears to convey a triumph of literature over mathematics. However, this apparent triumph of literary logic is underscored by parallels between Dupin and the Minister. Both are characterized by images of "doubling" and both use identical methods to steal the letter. Yet, the Minister is depicted as a villain, while Dupin is conveyed as a brilliant hero. Despite Dupin's success in discovering the letter, when Poe mirrors Dupin to the Minister, he reveals the double sides of his character and thus the multiple meanings within literature. Ultimately, Poe conveys that the true value of the purloined letter is its power to represent multiple meanings of both good and evil.

Throughout the story, Dupin's imprecise, circular, intuitive deduction is contrasted with the Prefect's orderly, mathematical logic.

From the start, Dupin is surrounded by images of smoke. In the opening line of the story, he smokes a "meerschaum" pipe. The narrator comments that Dupin seems to be "intently and exclusively occupied with the curling eddies of smoke that oppressed the atmosphere of the chamber" (Poe,6). Later, Dupin speaks "amid a perfect whirlwind of smoke" (9). Smoke is an intangible, curling, whirling, rounded image, with a shape and form that continually change. The disorderliness of the image that repeatedly characterizes Dupin is emphasized most poignantly when smoke literally breaks up the linearity of his sentences; "Why--puff, puff--you might--puff, puff--employ counsel in the matter, eh?--- puff, puff, puff. Do you remember the story they tell us of Abernathy?" (13) The puffs of Dupin's pipe, with their rounded paths interrupt Dupin's linear sentence. They not only break up...