The Red Scare Essay

This essay has a total of 1979 words and 8 pages.

The Red Scare



Many people label Edgar Allen Poe a horror writer, plain and simple others refer to Poe
as the father of the detective story, but over all heīs one Americas greatest writers. His
ability of expressing the world in gothic ways, really captures the readerīs attention.
Even though he lead a tough life and was known as a sadistic drug addict and alcoholic, he
still managed to produce great pieces of literature. Three of his greatest works were
"The Tell Tale heart", "The Fall of the House Usher", and "The Raven." All of these are
very known troughout the world and are considered three of Poeīs greatest pieces.

He was born in Boston on January 19, 1809, his parents, regular members of Federal street
theater, named him Edgar Poe. Shortly before his mother's death in Richmond, Virginia on
December 8, 1811, his father abandoned the family. John Allen, a wealthy tobacco merchant
in Richmond, brought Poe into the family (at his wife's request), and gave him the middle
name Allen as a baptismal name, though he never formally adopted him. Even though Allenīs
treatment toward Poe is not exactly known, we know that Allen never treated Poe with
sensitivity. In 1815, the Allen family moved to England on business. There, Poe entered
the Manor-House School in Stoke-Newington, a London suburb. This school taught him "the
gothic architecture and historical landscape of the region made a deep imprint on his
youthful imagination, which would effect his adult writings" (Levin, 14). The Allens left
England in June 1820, and arrived in Richmond on August 2. Here, Poe entered the English
and Classical School of Joseph H. Clarke, a graduate of Trinity College in Dublin. On
February 14, 1826, Poe entered the University of Virginia. Though he spent more time
gambling and drinking than studying, he won top honors in French and Latin.

On May 26, 1827, Poe enlisted in the US Army under the name Edgar A. Perry. He joined
Battery H of the 1st Artillery, then stationed at Fort Independence. While Poe served
there, Calvin F.S. Thomas printed Poe's first book, "Tamerlane and Other Poems", a slim
volume, which failed to earn any fame or money. Poe then visited Baltimore, and arranged
for the printing of another slim volume, entitled "Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems".
Then, Allen obtained an appointment for him as a cadet, so on July 1, 1830 he entered
West Point Military Academy, making his residence at No. 28 in the South Barracks. Poe's
military career, however, flopped. After his dismissal, he published a third volume of
poetry, this one dedicated to "the US Corps of Cadets", for he had taken a subscription
from them to raise funds. He then settled in Baltimore with his impoverished aunt, Maria
Clemm, her daughter, Virgina Clemm, and his older brother, William Henry Leonard. He
tried looking for work as a teacher in Baltimore, but another person got the job and
Thomas Willis White hired him as an editor at The Southern Literary Messenger, in which he
published short stories, poems, and ascorbic literary reviews. In October, the Clemms
joined him, and in May he married his cousin Virginia.

The rest of his life, Poe suffered from severe mental depression and declining physical
health. In 1838, he published his only novel, "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym". In
December, 1839, he lost his job because of the intense rumors of his excessive drinking
habits. "By late 1846, financial woes and Poe's own continuing decline ended the
magazine" (Levin, 18). In January 1847, his wife died in their cottage at Fordham. This
made his poverty and instability worst. He continued to write, and engaged in unsuccessful
publishing schemes and romances, until, on October 3, 1849, Joseph W. Walker found him
unconscious, (thought to be intoxicated) in the street. Poe remained hospitalized,
oscillating between a somatic state and violent delirium, until his death at 5 am on the
7th of 1849.

Poe's literature hardly relates to the harsh realities of 19th century life. The dark,
chaotic, romantic worlds he created represent an escape from the real, unromantic miseries
of life to a place where miseries become grand, beautiful things. The story "The Tell
Tale Heart" portrays the mad obsession of a man with an old manīs eye. The narrator in
the story tries to convince us that heīs not mad, but only he is very careful by planning
and executing the crime. Over all the story is about a man obsessed with an old manīs eye
and the fact that he cannot bare to even look at it. His hatred toward the eye drives him
insane and to the point that he plots a way to kill the old man. By the end of the story
the man is completely insane, because he imagines and hears the beating of the dead old
manīs heart buried under the floor boards. He finally confesses out of pure insanity and
the police arrest him. By murdering the old man, he will never show his awful eye to
anyone ever again. Also there is knowledge that in ancient times the possession of a
blue "evil" eye was the ability to have powers and harm people. We can speculate that the
narrator may not have been mad, maybe he knew the tales of the evil powered eyes, and all
he wanted to do was to get rid of it, so it wouldn't cause any harm. As the narrator
keeps insisting that heīs not mad, the reader soon realizes that the fear of the old manīs
eye has consumed the narrator, who has now fallen into a state of madness.

"The Fall of the House of Usher", the remediation of two siblings suffering from odd
illnesses and their hospitality to an old friend. Roderick and his twin sister Madeline
are both suffering from rather strange illnesses. "Roderick suffers from "a morbid
acuteness of the senses"; while Madeline's illness is characterized by "...a settled
apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and frequent although transient affections
of a partly cataleptical character..." which caused her to lose consciousness and feeling.
The body would then assume a deathlike rigidity" (Stuart, 86). Roderick, in other words
is completely mad and then tries to drive the narrator insane too. Madeline is presumed
dead, but then appears to them in the night and dies at an instant on Roderickīs harms,
also taking Roderick with her as she dies. The narrator rushes out of the decayed mansion
and as he travels away from it, he sees the mansion begin to shake and crumble. Slowly it
falls to the ground leaving just fragments of the "Famous House of Usher."

In many of Poeīs stories, the reader and the narrator begin to enter a state of madness
and fantasy becomes reality. Here in the story, Roderick accuses the narrator of being
insane. But at the end, the narrator escapes and watches the siblings and the house itself
fall into itīs dark end.
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