Peeling the Horrible Onion

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When the name Edgar Allan Poe is mentioned, it is usually followed by a gloomy description of his works. His portrayal inevitably involves words as twisted mind, grotesque, and insane. The celebrated work of Poe not only reflects greatness in writing skill, but an unparallel ability to delve into human psychology. Poe reflected his life into his writings, giving a peek into the human psych when it is littered with bad fortune, and turmoil. Edgar Allan Poe’s experiences and personal views are subtlety placed in his works which were influenced by the Transcendentalist movement, Abolitionism, and the grief placed on him by the deaths of the women in his life.

The first major influence in Poe’s writing technique and style arises from the philosophical Transcendentalist movement in the 1830’s. The movement called for literacy independence from England, while creating a unique form of literature tailored by Americans. The movement began in 1836 with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay titled Nature. This essay was used to fuel the movement to develop the American style of literature. The group used its spiritual hunger and infused their writings with spirituality. Emerson wrote about the human soul being a catalyst for perceiving stating “The move from reason to understand, which could be acquired by the individual’s submission to the spirit, was the necessary opening to the universal” (McIlhenny). Many Transcendentalists had varied opinions on the level and interpretations of the will to change American society into a utopian state. Part of the group wanted to instill a religious doctrine to build a better moral code, while many disagreed claiming it goes against the stand alone complex they were hoping for. Emerson and his peers continued t...

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