How Edgar Poe Uses the Description of Environments in His Narratives

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How Edgar Poe Uses the Description of Environments in His Narratives This essay is about how Poe uses the description of environments in his narratives. I shall explain this usage with close reference to several short stories by Poe. A full listing of the stories used appears in the List of Works Consulted at the end of this essay. It is important to note that in all of the stories, the narration is in the first-person. This has deep-reaching effects on how particular environments are described. This will also be commented upon. The first excerpt comes from a story entitled "MS Found In a Bottle": Our vessel was a beautiful ship of about four hundred tons, copper-fastened, and built at Bombay of Malabar teak. She was freighted with cotton-wool and oil, from the Lachadive islands. We had also on board coir, jaggeree, ghee, cocoa-nuts, and a few cases of opium. The stowage was clumsily done, and the vessel consequently crank. Poe describes his environments in great detail -- thus giving the reader a clear representation of where the scene is taking place. The above description is short and concise compared to a usual Poe description. Here he has described the ship as beautiful -- this is an opinion and not a description, and Poe often gives opinions in his descriptions. His description consists of the weight of the ship, what it is made of, where it was built, of what it was built, and the cargo it was carrying. A further minute detail is that the ship was lopsided because the cargo wasn't stowed properly. This is the sort of meticulous detail that Poe generally uses. It is unusual in his works to find a detailed description this short however. This next excerpt is from the same story, and is more typical of Poe's descriptive sty... ... middle of paper ... ... in the second paragraph. The narrator here has "made many observations . . . upon the structure of the ship", and has eliminated unlikely possiblilties and favoured more likely ones. He has used conjecture and deduction throughout the paragraph in order to give the reader a clear picture of just how much he does know about the ship. This is an effective technique, and gives a sense of realism and therefore credibility to the narrator, which helps the story to become a lot more readable. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate what this essay has discussed. This essay has been about how Poe uses the description of environments in his narratives. I have explained this usage with close reference to several short stories by Poe. The effects of the first-person narrative on description have also been discussed in detail, particularly the use of opinion and conjecture.
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