Comparing Writing Careers of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King

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Comparing Writing Careers of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King In human nature there exists a morbid desire to explore the darker realms of life. As sensitive beings we make every effort to deny our curiosity in the things that frighten us, and will calmly reassure our children that there aren't any creatures under their beds each night, but deep down we secretly thrive on that cool rush of fear. Despite our efforts to maintain a balance of respectable emotions, we are a society of people who slow down to look at traffic accidents and find excitement in the macabre. We turn off the lights when watching scary movies, and when it?s time to go to bed, we secretly make sure the closet doors are shut. Fear keeps our hearts pumping and endorphins rushing, for it is an emotion that reminds us of our mortality. How ironic it is to experience more life in our fascination with death. Two legendary writers have ruled the universe of death and horror with remarkable success, both gifted with the talent of introducing each reader to his or her own subconscious fears. Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King are the masters of their craft, blessed- or perhaps cursed- with imaginations that set higher standards in the field of writing. Both authors broke new ground in fiction that has had a significant impact on the world of literature. Similar in quite a few ways, though contrasting in many others, this paper will explore the lives and styles of these two remarkable men, paying close attention to the differences that exist in their approaches to writing. A look into Poe?s childhood might shed some light on where this divergence stems from. Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts to drifting actor parents. Denying his parental responsibilities, his father abandoned his wife and three children, leaving her to support the family as best she could. She traveled through various cities acting in stage engagements as she could get them, but the struggle eventually took a toll on her health. Towards the end of 1811 while in Richmond, Virginia, she became ill and died. Her children were promptly farmed into homes, Edgar being placed into the residence of a well-off, yet unsupportive merchant named John Allan. Allan was emotionally detached from Poe, refusing to even legally adopt the boy. This move would begin a chain of events, eventually triggering a drinki... ... middle of paper ... ..., and even if Poe?s use of language may be difficult to understand in this day and age, his subject matter is just as timely as Kings is. They have followed the norms in style of their respective cultures and times, even though their themes don?t exactly adhere to society?s morality. They are different and stand out because of it. We may never know if any of this affected either writer?s ideas or successes, or if they simply were destined to write the way they have. What we do know is that as readers we will never be the same. The things that have secretly scared us since childhood are forever entrenched in the stories by these two great writers, and the subject of fear will never grow cold. WORKS CITED Charters, Ann. The Story and Its Writer. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin?s, 1999. Edgar Allan Poe- The Life of a Poet. National Park Service. 4 Apr. 2001. King, Stephen. Needful Things. New York: Viking Penguin, 1991. ---. Night Shift. New York: Doubleday Dell, 1976. ---. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Scribner, 2000. Van Doren Stern, Philip. The Portable Poe. New York: Penguin Books, 1957. Trotter, Jeffrey. Epinions. 5 Aug. 2000.

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