Inside the Mind of Edgar Allen Poe

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Edgar Allen Poe was abandoned by his father when he was ten and his mother died when he was eleven. This was most likely the beginning of the decline of his mental thought processes. The poverty, rejection and neglect that Poe experienced had major psychological effects on his personality. Poe was delusional, confused and void of natural emotions. In today’s psychological circles it is likely that Poe would be thought to suffer from Manic-Depressive Bipolar disorder. He was a disturbed individual and the disturbances are reflected in the darkness of his writings. “Poe is known primarily for his mastery of the Gothic genre. Poe's short stories "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "Ligeia" are both classic examples of the genre.” (Canada) Poe’s gothic writings were scary fantasies that demanded the reader participate in the terror.

Poe also uses the unreliable narrator in “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “Ligeia.” The narrator describes his feelings when he first saw the house as “a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.” (pg 689) He goes on to describe the house as if it were a person when he equates the empty windows as “vacant eyes.” Poe created an image in the imagination that can run wild. If he had explained the terrors of the house, then one would have been able to reason or explain them away. By implying he leaves one to experience the same type of terror as one feels when one hears a sound in a house at night and becomes afraid. The imagination begins to wonder about all kinds things that are wrong and even begins to believe that something evil is about to happen. However, the sound turns out to be a limb brushing the window as the wind blows it back and forth and then the person feels silly for being afraid...

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...tion of death, feverish fantasies, the cosmos as source of horror and inspiration, without bothering himself with such supernatural beings as ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and so on.” He went on to say, "Three fifths of him genius and two fifths sheer fudge." It was hard to separate truth from fiction when deciphering Poe’s writings.

Works Citied:

Baym, Nina, ed. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 7th ed. Vol. I. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. 689-701. Print.

Canada, Mark, ed. "Edgar Allan Poe." Canada's America1997. http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/canam/poe.htm (June 15, 2011).

Edgar Allan Poe, Review of J. R. Lowell's A Fable for Critics, from Southern Literary Messenger, March 1849, pp. 189-191

Minis, Sarah. Journal for English 28. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. September 3, 1996.
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