The Philosophy Of Composition Essay

The Philosophy Of Composition Essay

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The Philosophy of Composition is an 1846 essay written by E.A. Poe himself which elucidates a theory of how good writers write when they write well. By the end of the paper, Poe concludes that in order to achieve a strong piece of writing, you must achieve what he calls “unity of effect.” Poe analyzes this theory based on his famous piece The Raven. In general, unity of effect is when an author can completely submerge their reader into the work of fiction. This can be achieved through the means of tone, diction, the setting and even the amount and the way the author allows the reader to interact with the characters. One of the elements that Poe found crucial in achieving a certain mood was the ability to force the reader to be engulfed by the setting. Nathaniel Hawthorne even later argued that unity of effect cannot be achieved in longer works, as the reader will eventually have to return to their ordinary lives, leaving the world behind, only to return later, overall, interrupting the unity of effect. Therefore, much of the control of the reader is lost.
Poe argues that in pursuit of writing a strong work of fiction, the writer must determine the ending, the conclusion, and write nothing that does not take their reader to that point. Denouement as he called it, is the resolution of the plot, which is the element which should determine all else that happens within. Through this, short and concise essay, it will be argued and explored that Poe successfully achieves unity of effect in his horrifying short story The Masque of the Red Death. This is done, to rebut the many criticism Poe has revived on his essay The Philosophy of Composition based on that fact that he is biased in saying that his story achieves unity of effect himse...

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...he words he chooses. The way he describes the Red Death as “scarlet stains” which appeared upon the face of the victim to the “scarlet” window pane which illuminated the black of the seven coloured room. Poe’s explicit word choice adds to not only the success of his composition but also adds to the feeling of the piece.
Through even further, and more extensive analysis, the conclusions one can come to on the success of this piece are endless. Was Poe biased when analyzing The Raven in Philosophy of Composition? Possibly, but any of his works of literature can be analyzed on the bases of unity of effect, and one can see, that Poe is wonderfully successful. Through the characters which the readers interact with, the setting they are placed in, and the words that they read and feel, Poe immerses his reader into his story through the unity of every element put into it.

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