Essay on Poe's The Masque (Mask) of the Red Death as Fantastic Genre

Essay on Poe's The Masque (Mask) of the Red Death as Fantastic Genre

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The Mask of the Red Death as Fantastic Genre

 
    American author Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) wrote many poems and short stories back in the 1800s. Poe is said by some to have virtually created the detective story and perfected the psychological thriller. These works include "The Raven," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Fall of Usher House," and "The Mask of the Red Death" (April 30, 1842). In the fantasy short story Poe uses certain magical elements that are not accepted by the reader as being real. Because these magical elements are not accepted by the reader as being real this story is an example of the Fantastic genre and not a part of Magical Realism, because in Magical Realism they unreal is accepted as real by both the reader and the characters in the story.

 

In "The Mask of the Red Death," Edgar Allen Poe has the ability to evoke imagery and texualize the reader through the "extensive use of detail" (Faris 169). By doing so, I believe that Poe achieves textualization of the reader because we as human tend to use our imagination to help us see things that are there when they are described to us in great detail to us. By using this ability, it seems as though we are a part of the book and not just reading it. In the following passage, Poe describes the rooms that are in Prince Prospero's abbey:

 

The eastern extremity was huge, for example, in blue- and vividly blue

were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and

tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green

throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished

and litten with orange- the fifth with white- the sixth with violet. (483)

 

After barely describing the fifth ...


... middle of paper ...


...as real by both the reader and the characters in the story, this story still remains an example of the Fantastic Literature and not a part of Magical Realism because unreal is not accepted by the reader as being real.

 

Works Cited

Faris, Wendy B. "Scheherazade's Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction." Magical Realism: History, Theory, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham, N.C. & London, England: Duke University Press, 1995. 163-189.

Poe, Edgar Allen. "The Mask of the Red Death." The Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Ann Arbor, MI: State Street Press. 482-487.

Simpkins, Scott. "Sources of Magical Realism/ Supplement to Realism in Latin American Fiction." Magical Realism: History, Theory, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham, N.C. & London, England: Duke University Press, 1995. 145-159.

 

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