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Lost at Sea
The book I choose to read is Edger Allen Poe's only novel "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym". This is a fiction novel and can be considered many different themes. But I think the main one would be adventure.
In this novel I believe Poe was trying to keep the reader on the edge like in everyone of his stories. However this one especially I think could have been based on voyages that he himself encountered in the past. I think Poe was trying to give his readers a feel of how it is to be on the open sea. On a crew ship with men you have never met, with the backstabbing and controversies.
This novel is written in first person, as Mr. Pym tells us of his journeys while in college. To sum up the plot from what I understood, this is Poe's one novel, a strange tale of adventure and hardship on the high seas. With the help of his friend Augustus, Pym stows away on the Grampus (their ship), which is almost immediately subject to a brutal mutiny. Violence and terrible storms leave Arthur, Augustus, a few others stranded on the floating wreckage of the ship for weeks on end. Attempts to retrieve edible materials from locked quarters below the waterline, and a little cannibalism, enable a couple men to survive until rescued by the Jane Guy.
That ship is headed for Antarctica, to find a route that will come closest to the South Pole. Far beyond where any Western ship has gone, the crew of the Jane Guy makes contact with friendly primitives who turn murderously treacherous. Though most of his shipmates are slaughtered, Pym does everything he can to stay alive and escape.
Knowing that most of you have not read this book, I will try and give you a few comparisons so that you can better understand this novel. Being stranded on this floating boat, in the middle of no were with that same people for weeks. That is what Pym had to go through, if you are like me, I can't be around anyone for even a week straight without a break. So you can pretty much understand the crazy stuff that would go down on this ship as the novel went on. Not only that, but the fear that had to be going through Pym's head as people began to turn on each other.
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The setting for this novel was In the 19th century, and most of the novel takes place on a crew ship. They were sailing in the middle of the ocean somewhere around the South Pole.
The characters in this novel were interesting. Pym, the main character, was a white male in his 20's. Pym is a pretty serious person; however he does have a sense of humor under all that. Pym's friend and companion Augustus is a stern serious person. He keeps to himself, and doesn't say much.
My favorite part of this book was the cannibalism. I guess this sounds weird to most people, but I have never read a book that had so much gruesome things happening. Poe went into some pretty intense detail when talking about things.
Poe was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1809. He was abandoned by his father when a baby and his mother died before he was three, so he was taken as a foster child into the home of John Allen, a Richmond VA Tobacco Merchant. Poe was then moved to Britain with John Allen, he was educated there through High School. He then returned to Virginia to complete college at The University of Virginia. He often fought with his foster father because Poe did not want to study law. He then went back to Boston and anonymously published "Tamerlane and Other Poems" in 1827. He served in the US Army under a false name (Edgar A Perry) and incorrect age, then attended West Point but got himself dismissed when he realized he would never be reconciled with his foster father. He then went to Baltimore to live with his aunt, Mrs. Maria Clemm, he would marry her daughter and his own cousin, 13-year-old Virginia Clemm, in 1836. His third volume of poetry brought neither fame nor profit, but a prize-winning short story, "A MS Found in a Bottle", gained him the editorship of "The Southern Literary Messenger".
I think this influenced Poe's dark writing style. He often writes about tragedies and deaths, and this could contribute to it. It sounds like he had a rough life loosing both parents at a young age and not getting along with his foster father.
Poe's style of writing is different from most authors. He focuses on the dark side of things and has a more eerie writing style. One that you don't see much in literature. It reminds me a lot of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. But it has sort of a mesmerizing feel to it, almost like once you start you are forced to finish the book. Like I said, if I were to sit down and have a talk with him, he would remind me of Alfred Hitchcock. I think it would be a great experience to sit down and interview someone of Poe's type.
All in all I really enjoyed this book. It kept me on the edge, as do all of Poe's books. I couldn't put it down and I don't think anyone could. With all the twists and turns this novel takes you wont want to miss a beat of it, and I recommend anyone read it if they get the chance.