Throughout the first half of the 19th century, America gazed at itself in a mirror and saw that it was good. As a beacon for democracy, the United States appeared to shine bright as the light of the world, demonstrating through the 1828 election of President Andrew Jackson that even a commoner from the countryside had the potential to rise to the top of the political hierarchy. On another level, under the growing success and influence of the Industrial Revolution, the American people seemed to ascribe widely to the belief that nature could be conquered by man, that no danger posed by the natural world was beyond the salvation offered by human technology. And then there was the overarching vision of manifest destiny, the nation’s blessed calling to expand its territory from ocean to ocean and thereby fulfill its purpose as a paradigm of virtue amid the savagery of the New World. Beneath the surface of each favorable reflection, however, lay shadows of hypocrisy that casted silent judgment upon these shining images of prosperity: the fact that democracy empowered the people, but only if they were white males; the reality that with industrial progress came egalitarian regress; and the truth that manifest destiny served as but an imperialist justification, a sort of divine mandate, for the removal and massacre of countless Native Americans. This tension between negative undertone and positive façade, between dark realities and their euphemized reflections, created a critical dissonance in the 19th century American conscience, such that the nation appeared ostensibly promising on the surface, and yet remained ravaged by storms of contradiction underneath. Perhaps inspired by this internal struggle between delusion... ... middle of paper ... ...nly reality within the mind of the person. Works Cited Fisher, Benjamin F. The Cambridge Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print. Gargano, James W. “’The Black Cat’: Perverseness Reconsidered.” Twentieth Century Interpretations of Poe’s Tales. Ed. William L. Howarth. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1971. 87-94. Print. Hammond, J.R. Edgar Allan Poe Companion: The Short Stories. London: MacMillan Press, 1981. Print. Jones, Paul Christian. “Slavery and Abolition.” Edgar Allan Poe in Context. Ed. Kevin A. Hayes. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013. 138-147. Print. Quinn, Arthur H. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. 1941. Print. Robinson, E. Arthur. “Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’” Critics on Poe. Ed. David B. Kesterson. Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami Press, 1973. 107-115. Print.
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Approaching the mid-1800’s, a movement coined as “Manifest Destiny” took over the American nation. Manifest Destiny was the overall idea that Americans had the “divine right” to expand towards the west. Many reasons were considered when talking about settling west, reasons such as cheap land, economic growth, and job opportunities, etc. Americans wanted to expand the national territory from ocean to ocean and express their superiority. Overall, the purpose of Manifest Destiny was to spread American values and expand the geographical borders of the nation.
Manifest destiny is the idea that Americans had, and have, the inherent right to expand the United States from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. As we know, this eventually happened, but it took a lot of time, money, blood, and effort in order to achieve this divine goal. We take for granted the size and span of our country, when for a good part of the 19th century, we shared the land mass with Spanish Mexico. It’s important to understand what drove us to pursue this goal, and the struggles that we encountered in obtaining, exploring, and settling the land.
MAnifest claimed that America had a destiny, manifest, i.e., self-evident, from God to occupy the North American continent south of Canada.Both the Spanish and the French monarchs authorized and financed exploration of the “New World” because, among other things, they considered it their divinely appointed mission to spread Christianity to the New World by converting the natives to Christianity. Coming later to the venture, the British and especially the New England Puritans carried with them a demanding sense of Providential purpose.Winthrop delivered his lay sermon just before he and his fellow passengers disembarked on the shore of Boston harbor, the place, Winthrop proposed, to which God had called them to build up a model Bible commonwealth for Protestants in England and elsewhere to emulate. “Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into Covenant with him for this work, we have taken out a commission.” Such are the basic outlines of the idea of America’s “chosenness” and providential destiny and mission that not only underlay the invocation of the nation’s “Manifest Destiny” as the rationale for the United States to extend its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean. It is also the constellation of ideas that has informed American nationalism and its actions at home and abroad to this
“The Black Cat”, written by Edgar A. Poe, has been called “one of the most powerful of Poe’s stories” with a horrific element that just barely “stops short of the wavering line of disgust”. Originally published in 1843 in the United States Saturday Post, this Gothic tale is perhaps also one of Poe’s most extensively analyzed pieces. (Cambell33) Much diversity is seen in the interpretations offered. The black cats are variously conceptualized as symbolic of the narrator’s wife, manifesting the supernatural, representing the narrator’s “intemperance and lost docility”, and reflecting some rapidly diminishing noble facet of the tale-teller’s character or conscience. The narrator himself is described by various analysts as insane, a liar, and
Jones, P.C., ‘Slavery and Abolitionism’, In Edgar Allan Poe in Context, Hayes, K.J. (ed.), (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013)
In "The House of Poe", Richard Wilbur elucidates his criticisms of Poe 's work. He firstly comments on a critic 's purpose, then how Poe 's stories are all allegories. He then addresses the possible opposition to his argument, and then begins his discussion of the common themes in Poe 's writing and provides examples from his stories. This dissertation will analyze Wilbur 's criticism by cross referencing Poe 's work and how it exemplifies Wilbur 's assessment. There is a great deal of evidence to support Wilbur 's theories, but a close examination of each one will determine how legitimate his argument really is.
Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale, "The Black Cat," is a disturbing story that delves into the contrasts between reality and fantasy, insanity and logic, and life and death. To decipher one distinct meaning presented in this story undermines the brilliance of Poe's writing. Multiple meanings can be derived from "The Black Cat," which lends itself perfectly to many approaches of critical interpretation.