Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's Writing Style

771 Words2 Pages

A virtuoso of suspense and horror, Edgar Allan Poe is known for his Gothic writing style. His style is created through his use of punctuation, sentence structure, word choice, tone, and figurative language. Punctuation-wise; dashes, exclamation marks, semicolons, and commas are a favorite of Poe. His sentences vary greatly; their structures are influenced by punctuation. Much of his word choice set the tone of his works. Figurative language colors his writings with description. Such is observed in the similarities between two of his most well-known short stories, “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”
To begin with, Poe valued punctuation in its ability to make a point. Proper use of punctuation allowed the reader to feel the full effect the sentence was supposed to have. All this is demonstrated in the first sentence of “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” Here, the dashes take the place of a comma to create the tension of the story on the first line. It draws the reader in, so that the reader has to determine whether or not the narrator is sane. Also, he uses semicolons to lengthen and support a sentence, usually by joining multiple phrases together. With a period instead of a semicolon, the relationship between the first clause and second isn’t emphasized as much as it could be. A semicolon stresses the narrator’s insistence in his sanity. Last of all, his use of exclamation marks shows the narrator’s state of mind, thoughts, and emotions. Without the exclamation mark in the first line, the impact of the narrator’s statement wouldn’t be as great. Yet, in observing punctuation, one can hardly fail to notice the relationship it pla...

... middle of paper ...

... in which the foul air made our torches glow, rather than burn brightly”, foreshadow Fortunato’s outcome in his search for the Amontillado. The sense of foreboding the reader feels adds to the suspense of the story. By using specific figurative language, he is able to arouse emotions in the reader that set the tone.
Conclusively, Edgar Allan Poe’s distinctive writing style comes from his use of punctuation, sentence structure, word choice, tone, figurative language. Commas, dashes, semicolons, and exclamation marks appear frequently in his writing. Simultaneously, they affect the organization and length of his sentences. Word choice sets the tone. Literary devices imbue it with life. On comparing “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”, this is observed.

Works Cited

"The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe
"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe

Open Document