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Edgar Allan Poe Essay, Research Paper

Sometimes people say I am an unusual person. I do not know why. I think I am a perfectly normal type of person. Maybe I am not into too many mainstream fads, but I am not that different. That is why when I was assigned a research paper I immediately chose Edgar Allan Poe. People say he was an unusual person, too, but I just think he is misunderstood. You should not judge someone until you know more about them and where they come from. (If you met my family you would understand why I am this way!) As I found out more about him, I realized that we had very different lifestyles. Edgar Allan Poe led a disturbing life that shows through his unique writing style and work.

Edgar Allan Poe entered the world on January 19, 1809. He was handed to two unloving parents: David Poe, Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Poe. The Poe family resided in Boston, Massachusetts. His unfit parents were in the acting business and did not have enough time to devote love and affection to young Edgar. At the age of three, Edgar lost his father and later his mother. David walked out on the family, leaving Elizabeth to take care of Edgar on her own. She could not handle the stress of being a single mother and passed away shortly after. John and Frances Allan unofficially adopted Edgar and raised him as their own. They brought him back to their home in Richmond, Virginia. Edgar never got along well with the Allans. His horrible years with his birth parents scarred him for life, making him believe no one could ever love him.

In 1815, the Allans moved to England. While there Poe was educated at the Manor House School. He graduated in 1819, and returned to Richmond the following year. Six years later, Poe enrolled in the University of Virginia. He soon dropped out of the school when his gambling debts overwhelmed him. He asked Allen to pay them off, but he refused. Poe had done this to him before.

Poe went back to Boston for four years before enlisting in West Point Academy. At West Point, Poe majored in Foreign languages. While he did well on an academic level, Poe did not feel as though he had to complete his required duties. For this, he was expelled. He next enlisted in the US Army as Edgar A. Perry. He achieved the title of Regiment Sergeant Major.

Right before Poe enlisted in the army, his first set of poems were published: Tamerlane and Other Poems, By a Bostonian. Two years later, Poe published the second volume: Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems.

Since Poe and Allan had grown so far apart, Poe had no where to go. He moved in with his aunt Maria Clemm. Soon after, he married Maria s daughter Virginia. Virginia was only 13 at the time. He loved her very, very much.

Poe ran into financial trouble when Allan passed away. The bitter “father figure” had left Poe out of his will. Searching for a living, Poe got a job at the Southern Literary Messenger as an editor. While at this position, Poe contributed many reviews of original poems. He also published The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Working as an editor brought him deeper into the world of literature.

Poe s writing style was one all of his own. It is said he innovated the first detective novel, The Murders in the Rue Morgue. His work challenged morals of the time. He was called atheistic, but his concern was the literary formalism. He had on main “philosophical ideal: through the calculated use of language one may express, though always imperfectly, a vision of truth and the essential condition of human existence.” (Infotrac Internet Resource, pg. 8)

Poe received many awards for his work. In 1843, the Gold Bug a prize winning story, was published in the Dollar Newspaper of Philadelphia. He also received much praise for The Raven, a poem written in 1845. The Raven is probably one of Poe s most famous pieces of work. It is about a young man who recently lost his true love. He asks aloud if they two will be united in an afterlife. His question is answered by a raven who repeats “Nevermore.” Charles Baudelaire said this of the poem: “it is indeed the poem of the sleeplessness of despair; it lacks nothing: neither the fever of ideas, nor the violence of colors, nor sickly reasoning, nor driveling terror, nor even the bizarre gaiety of suffering which makes it more terrible.” (Infotrac information source, page 11) Another award winning book was MS. Found in a Bottle, 1833. The Fall of the House of Usher: and Other Tales is a popular Poe novel. Penguin USA, a publisher of this book, writes:

The eerie tales of Edgar Allan Poe remain among the most brilliant and influential works in American literature. Some of the celebrated tales contained in this unique volume include: the world’s finest two detective stories – “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter”; and three stories sure to make a reader’s hair stand on end – “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Masque of the Red Death.”

His young wife Virginia died of tuberculosis in 1847. Apparently she was the only thing good in Poe s life. After her death his health began to deteriorate. He did not write as much and sunk into depression. He got past all of this to become engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton. While escorting his aunt, Maria Clemm, to the wedding, he took a brief brake in Baltimore Maryland. A few days later, he was found outside a tavern, semiconscious and delirious. His death was reported as a ” congestion of the brain,’ though the precise circumstances of his death have never been fully explained.” (World Book Internet Resource, pg. 2) America lost 1849 one of its best authors on October 4th,1849

Through his macabre writing, we can get a better glimpse into the horror of Edgar Allan Poe s life. He went through many rejections and hardships to write the wonderful American literature we have from him today.


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