The unreliability of the narrator in MS. Found in a Bottle by Edgard Allan Poe

Essay by stellaraCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2004

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Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most important writers of 19th Century literature, used to see himself as primarily a poet. However, his reputation as a writer is in great part due to his tales and short stories. These involved from the gothic, the grotesque and the dark side of life, to the detective stories and to those which originated modern science fiction. Poe's unique style has been the subject of criticism and of studies for a long time, and the variety of narrators presented in each tale has also been analyzed by different points of view. In this research paper I intend to make a brief analysis of one of the tales that have been read and discussed during the classes and the focus of this analysis will be on the narrator of the story.

The tale that will be analyzed is the one that gave Poe his first prize in a short-story competition: MS. Found in a Bottle. This is a story of a man who gets into a ship with a crew of sailors which is caught by a storm in the middle of the ocean. This storm kills most of the crew and leaves only two survivors: the writer and another man. After many days lonely in the sea, their ship is hit by a gigantic ship. In this accident the Swede dies and the narrator is thrown into the other ship. When he observes its strange crew, he feels that he is about to die, and that is why he decides to start writing and describing what is going on around him.

There are many peculiarities about this narrator: first, he introduces himself in the very beginning of the story without giving much information about him. "Of my country and of my...