Edgar Allan Poe

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Mind Map on Edgar Allan Poe, created by 10012895 on 04/20/2016.

Resource summary

Edgar Allan Poe
  1. Theme
    1. Death/Revenge
      1. The Narrator in the Cask of Amontillado is deadset on killing his friend after his friend insulted him
        1. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge." (Cask of Amontillado)
        2. In Annabel Lee, Annabel Lee dies
          1. "That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling And killing my Annabel Lee." (Annabel Lee).
          2. In The Black Cat the narrator kills his cat and wife
            1. "Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demoniacal, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot, without a groan."(Black Cat).
            2. In the Tell-Tale heart, the unknown narrator kills his friend solely because of his unusual eye
              1. " I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees -- very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. "(Tell Tale Heart).
            3. Insanity
              1. The narrator in The Black Cat kills everyone around him, and justifies it
                1. "This hideous murder accomplished, I set myself forthwith, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbors. Many projects entered my mind."
                  1. The narrator had just killed his wife of many years because she tried to stop him from killing a cat. After this murder he feels no remorse for the deed and just continues on with his life as if nothing happened.
                2. The narrator in Annabel Lee is in love with, and to a point obsessed with Annabel Lee
                  1. "And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side/ Of my darling-my darling-my life and my bride" (Annabel Lee).
                    1. The narrator literally sleeps at Annabel's tomb every night.
                  2. In Descent into the Maelstrom, the old man narrating the story says that he admired the storm that was about to kill him
                    1. "After a little while I became possessed with the keenest curiosity about the whirl itself. I positively felt a wish to explore its depths, even at the sacrifice I was going to make; and my principal grief was that I should never be able to tell my old companions on shore about the mysteries I should see" (A Descent into Maelstrom).
                  3. Regret
                    1. In The Tell Tale Heat the insane narrator reveals everything he did in guilt
                      1. "It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night." (Tell Tale Heart)
                      2. In the Cask of Amontillado Montresor expresses the story with guilt and repentance in mind
                        1. "There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick;" (Cask of Amontillado).
                        2. In Black Cat, the narrator is writing the events that happened, expressing the disgust he feels for his actions
                          1. "In their consequences, these events have terrified— have tortured— have destroyed me. "
                        3. Betrayal
                          1. Tell Tale Heart
                            1. "I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees -- very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. "(Tell Tale Heart).
                            2. Cask of Amontillado
                              1. "A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated, I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied." (Cask of Amontillado).
                              2. Black Cat
                                1. "I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!"
                            3. Autobiographical Elements
                              1. His wife died and in his stories there is always a death of a beautiful women
                                1. i.e."...when one evening, having informed me abruptly that the Lady Madeline was no more..." (The Fall of the House of Usher
                                  1. Annabel Lee is based on the a beautiful, young girl who dies
                                    1. In Black Cat, the man murders his own wife of many years.
                                    2. Alcoholism
                                      1. i.e. Cask of Amontillado: Fortunato was as drunk Italian man and it caused him to be vulnerable and open to attack and murder. Edgar Allan Poe also was and alcoholic.
                                        1. The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs.
                                          1. The man who is being described is so intoxicated that he does not notice the skeletons and foreboding setting
                                        2. In the Black Cat , the author claims that he suffers from alcoholism
                                          1. " But my disease grew upon me—for what disease is like Alcohol!" (Black Cat).
                                          2. The Black Cat and Cask of Amontillado are the only two stories that have alcohol as its major theme. While there are only two stories that have it as its main feature, it was a major part of Poe's life
                                          3. Isolation; because so many people near him died, Poe secluded himself
                                            1. Cask of Amontillado; Fortunato is left alone in the tomb
                                              1. "No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells." (Cask of Amontillado)
                                              2. Pit and the Pendulum; the unknown narrator is trapped by himself
                                                1. "This room was a prison cell. Maybe I would die here without food, or water, or light" (Pit and the Pendulum). Th prison cell is isolated
                                                2. A descent into maelstrom; the old man is secluded in the sea
                                                  1. " I looked dizzily, and beheld a wide expanse of ocean, whose waters wore so inky a hue as to bring at once to my mind the Nubian geographer's account of the Mare Tenebrarum. A panorama more deplorably desolate no human imagination can conceive" (A Descent Into Maelstrom). The man was alone at sea and face the whirlpool far from land and help, and had no companions.
                                              3. Writing Style
                                                1. Figurative Language
                                                  1. Similes, metaphors, personification, anidiplosis, repetition
                                                    1. Anidiplosis: “The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes he was stone, stone dead” (Poe 81).
                                                      1. Personification: "That the wind came out of the cloud by night, chilling and killing my Annabel Lee"(Poe)
                                                        1. Personification: "The wine sparkled in his eyes"(Poe)
                                                          1. Simile: "It hung like moss upon the wall" (Cask of Amontillado
                                                        2. Begins writing with background information analyzing human character and/or reflecting
                                                          1. The Cask of Amontillado: Montresor gives his insight on revenge and how one should react to it or act upon it
                                                            1. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely settled--but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved, precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong" (The Cask of Amontillado).
                                                          2. Character Development: Written all in past tense and are usually reflective
                                                            1. I.e. The Purloined Letters
                                                              1. "At Paris, just after dark one gusty evening in the autumn of 18-, I was enjoying the twofold luxury of meditation and a meerschaum, in company with my friend C. Auguste Dupin, in his little back library, or book-closet, au troisiême, No. 33, Rue Dunôt, Faubourg St. Germain" (the Purloined Letters).
                                                              2. The Black Cat was written by the narrator one day before his hamging
                                                                1. "For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet mad am I not—and very surely do I not dream. But tomorrow I die, and today I would unburthen my soul (Black Cat).
                                                                2. Tell Tale Heart
                                                                  1. "How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story" (Tell-Tale Heart).
                                                                3. Narrator: Almost always first person
                                                                  1. Annabel Lee
                                                                    1. "She was a child and I was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love that was more than love-- I and my Annabel Lee." (Annabel Lee).
                                                                    2. The Black Cat
                                                                      1. "For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not -- and very surely do I not dream." (The Black Cat)
                                                                      2. The Cask of Amontillado
                                                                        1. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge" (Cask of Amontillado)
                                                                      3. Narrator: His voice is melodramatic
                                                                        1. “The brother had been lead to his resolution (so he told me) by consideration...” (The Fall of the House of Usher)
                                                                        2. Word choice: repeated words, Circular ending
                                                                          1. In The Cask of Amontillado, he mentions the "jingling bells" of Fortunato in the beginning and end.
                                                                            1. "The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode" (Cask of Amontillado).
                                                                              1. "There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells." (Cask of Amontillado).
                                                                              2. Annabel Lee: In the beginning he describes the sea in a regal majestic way, while in the ending he says it with such sadness and implies that it is a place full of sadness and misery
                                                                                1. "In a kingdom by the sea"
                                                                                  1. "In her tomb by the sounding sea"
                                                                                  2. In the fall of the house of Usher the story opens and closes with a description of the house
                                                                                    1. " While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened - there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind - the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight - my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder - there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters - and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher ."
                                                                                      1. " I looked upon the scene before me - upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain - upon the bleak walls - upon the vacant eye-like windows - upon a few rank sedges - and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees - with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium - the bitter lapse into everyday life - the hideous dropping off of the veil.
                                                                                    2. Word Choce: Ironic
                                                                                      1. In The Cask of Amontilado, a man named Fortunato, which means "fortunate one" in Italian dies
                                                                                        1. "It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the noble Fortunato" (Cask of Amontillado). This is the scene where Fortunato is being buried alive.
                                                                                        2. In the Black Cat, the narrator names his cat Pluto, which is the God of Death in Roman Mythology, yet, the cat is brutally killed
                                                                                          1. " I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! (Black Cat).
                                                                                          2. In the Pit and the Pendulum. the narrator talks about Hades, and he is the Greek God of Death. However, he is actually saved from death
                                                                                            1. “ The thought came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared swallowing up in a mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades.”(Poe)
                                                                                          3. Narrator: Rich setting description
                                                                                            1. The Cask of Amontillado
                                                                                              1. "I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together upon the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors. "
                                                                                              2. "The Purloined Letter
                                                                                                1. "At Paris, just after dark one gusty evening in the autumn of 18-, I was enjoying the twofold luxury of meditation and meerschaum, in company with my friend, C Auguste Dupin..."
                                                                                                2. The Pit and the Pendulum
                                                                                                  1. "And then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help."
                                                                                              3. Characters
                                                                                                1. Many Unnamed Narrators with similar characteristics (all male)
                                                                                                  1. The Black Cat
                                                                                                    1. Starts off as a kind compassionate figure but slowly becomes more violent and angrier. He also justifies his wrong actions like many of Poe's other characters. The narrator acts on impulse and is abusive.
                                                                                                      1. "Uplifting an axe, and forgetting in my wrath the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal, which of course, would have proved to instantly fatal, had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded by the interference into a rage more than demonical, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot without a groan" (Black Cat).
                                                                                                    2. The Tell-Tale Heart
                                                                                                      1. Admits to being insane and is cynical. He is patient in the beginning of the story but then becomes impulsive toward he end. He states that he had to commit the murder for the welfare of other people.. The narrator is also fidgety and cynical.
                                                                                                        1. "Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -- with what caution -- with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night about midnight I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so gently!
                                                                                                      2. A Descent into Maelstrom
                                                                                                        1. Welcomes the idea of death like many of Poe's characters. He is excited by danger and terror, insane, and attracted to danger.
                                                                                                          1. "After a little while I became possessed with the keenest curiosity about the whirl itself. I positively felt a wish to explore its depths, even at the sacrifice I was going to make; and my principal grief was that I should never be able to tell my old companions on shore about the mysteries I should see" (A Descent into Maelstrom).
                                                                                                      3. Little to no background info given about characters
                                                                                                        1. The Tell-Tale Heart starts with action and throughout the story we only know of his plan and nothing about him besides the characteristics he depicts in the story.
                                                                                                          1. "TRUE! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story." (Tell-Tale Heart).
                                                                                                            1. This is all the text given before jumping into the plot.
                                                                                                          2. In the Pit and the Pendulum, Poe immediately describes the torture and the feelings the character is experiencing. The reader doesn't even know that it is the Spanish Inquistion until the end.
                                                                                                            1. In The Cask of Amontillado, all Poe expresses is the concept of revenge
                                                                                                              1. "THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge."
                                                                                                            2. Usually insane or physically disabled
                                                                                                              1. In The Tell Tale Heart the narrator describes himself as having a disease
                                                                                                                1. "The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell" (Tell-Tale Heart).
                                                                                                                2. In The Fall of the House of Usher, Usher writes a letter to his friend describing a mental illness,
                                                                                                                  1. "The writer spoke of acute bodily illness--of a mental disorder which oppressed him..."
                                                                                                                    1. "On one of the staircases, I met the physician of the family..." (The Fall of the House of Usher"
                                                                                                                    2. In the Black Cat, the narrator claims that alcohol is its own type of disease
                                                                                                                      1. " But my disease grew upon me—for what disease is like Alcohol!" (Black Cat).
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