Poe's Man in the Crowd: Types of People Based On Appearance
Throughout life, clothing and body language are often utilized as sources of emotional expression. These emotions can also be portrayed in literaray works and artisitic displays, such as those of Poe, Baudelaire, Manet, and Warhol. In Poe's "Man of the Crowd," there are several descriptions of different types of people based on their appearances, but one particular man is focused on by the narrator due to his unique appearance. Baudelaire's "The Painter of Modern Life" emphasizes the emotional expressions of beauty and fashion expressed in art. Manet is an artist who paints scenes to his liking. All of his works were done in his studio and set up the way that he wanted them. He holds a particular focus on men and women and the relationship between them. The positions and clothing that the men and women are set up in hold strong emotional implications about their feelings towards one another and the emotions involved in the social setting.
The opening of "The Man of the Crowd," describes the emotions involved in untold secrets and the deepest of crimes; there are internal conflicts, struggles, anxieties, and agonous results due to the horror of the unsolvable crimes. The possibility of these crimes is introduced through the man of the crowd through his unseemingly unidentifiable expression The narrator describes his thoughts of this man as:
There arose confusedly and paradoxically within my mind, the ideas of vast mental power, of caution, of penuriousness, of avarice, of coolness, of malice, of blood-thirtstiness, of triumph, of merriment, of excessive terror, of intense - of supreme despair. I felt singularly aroused, startled, fascinated. "How wild a history," I said to myself, "is written within that bosom!"
Although the narrator had never spoken to this man of the crowd, he was compelled to follow him based on his expression that had never been viewed by the narrator. He continued to follow the man of the crowd, noticing his patterns of following people by the mass and his shambled cloting and he concluded that he "[was] the type and genious of deep crime. He refuses to be alone."
Prior to viewing the man of the crowd, the narrator observed several different types of people, all of which were able to be "read" through their outward appearances.. The most numerous amount of individuals were business men. The first type of business men "[had] brows [that were knit, and their eyes rolled quickly." They were also not distracted nor distraught when they were pushed around by men of their sort. It was concluded by the narrator from these characteristics that those men were content and "seemed to be thinking only of making their way through the press." The second type of business men conveyed a different type of body language; they were restless, had flushed faces, and talked and motioned to thesmselves. Their motions would increase in number in addition to an overdone smile, when they were jostled and they would bow apologetically to the jostlers. Their movements indicated to the narrator that they felt alone as a result of the large crowd surrounding them. These movements sounded to me as though the business men were insecure in their actions and motioned to themselves for purposes of reassurement. Their apologetic motions were for purposes of acceptance of themselves to the rest of the crowd. Both types of businessmen were concluded to be independent, "decent," and men who were responsible for conducting their own business. These men's professions were also identified as noblemen, merchants, attorneys, tradesmen, and stock-jobbers through their actions and body language.
Clerks were other individuals who were able to be recognized through their outward appearances. The "junior" clerks were "young gentlemen with tight coats, bright boots, well - oiled hair, and supercilious lips." They were also perceived as...
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