The Horrors of Poe

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In the early 1800s, Edgar Allan Poe introduced a new type of literature to the United States. He introduced gothic horror and other horror stories to the US. His stories inspired many to write new literature like Stephen King and many others. His entire career had shaped created a new style unknown to the US. Poe creates an atmosphere of horror with plot, setting and internal dialogue.

One way Poe puts fear into the readers is his use of internal dialogue. In the story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator says “but why will you say I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses – not destroyed them – not hindered them.” The narrator believes that his psychopathic disorder improved his senses and allowed him to see and hear things that no one else could. This makes the narrator less of a reliable source and is unstable with what he does. Another example is in “The Raven” when the old man yells “Prophet! Thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!” In this poem, the old man had gone insane because a raven had flown into his library and had not left when he wanted it to. Although, Poe wants you to question if the bird were actually there. This negates from the credibility of the narrator and makes you wonder if he is insane. In this fashion, Poe adds a veil of horror to his poems and short stories.

Another way Poe creates horror in his use of the setting. In “The Masque of the Red Death”, he says, “But in the western or the black chamber the effect if the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings throughout the blood-tinted panes was ghastly in the extreme.” He describes it as a very dark room with blood light that makes it very hard to see at night. This may scare some because they might be afraid of the dark. Also, in “The Raven”, he says, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.” This sets the place at midnight and creates a veil of horror because it will be very quiet and you will not be able to see as well. As many can...
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