Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Poe Fridays: Playing Catch-Up!

It has been such a long time since I have posted for Poe Fridays, but I have still been reading the infamous author along with the host, Kristen over at We Be Reading!! Now that I have at least a little more time on my hands, I have decided that I have GOT to get caught up on all my reviews and have decided to start with dear ol' Poe!! Please bear with me as I post all my Poe catch-up at once!!

(Special format note: I have linked the title of the poems and stories to a copy of the work. Links to Kristen's original posts can be found at the bottom of my individual reviews.)

One of the most famous tales, The Fall of the House of Usher, reminds me so much of modern horror films. From being buried alive to a house being alive, I see many parallels with such films as Amityville Horror, Stir of Echoes, Rose Red, and so many more. What fascinates me personally about Poe is not his fascination with all things death, but his ability to capture not only his fear of it, but that of many others.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to teach a class on the evolution of horror films. The horror film genre really began as early as the late 1800's, but the horrors that Poe speaks of in his tales do not appear until the mid-1900's. Isn't it amazing that Poe captures these horrors more than a century before? Despite his morbidity, he was rather ahead of his time!!

Click here for Kristen's original post.


Lenore is yet another poem of a lost loved one . . . of one that died at a young age. For me, this one really does not leave me with one feeling or another. In fact, I'm pretty much indifferent and have nothing more to say!

Click here for Kristen's original post.

The short story, The Sphinx is not one that I have read before and therefore, was not familiar with it or what to expect. As Kristen states in her original post, it is a bit anticlimatic; however, I also find it a bit humorous. One often only thinks of death and tragedy when it comes to Poe . . . BUT this one demonstrates that Poe may just have had a lighter side to him that came out every now and then! I guess it all depends on how you look at it!! :)

Click here for Kristen's original post.

Poe and his revenge!! The Cask of Amontillado is another tale of revenge. However, revenge of what? The narrator only says, that Fortunato, ventured upon insult." So, I'm left wondering . . . what insult is so bad that the man is punished with such an end? An end that Fortunato even believes to be a joke until the final "closure"? And, with such talk of revenge, it makes me wonder if this parallels some of Poe's personal desires that were dreamt, but never acted upon. Hmmm . . .

Click here for Kristen's original post.

The Oval Portrait is a very short story of a man that happens upon a beautiful, life-like portrait of a young woman. It also just so happens that a book is sitting on the night stand next to him with an explanation of the artwork in his room. I think that it is a very powerful story; one that definitely packs a punch! The moral that I am taking away from it . . . Don't take the beauty of life for granted!!

Poe's short tale of The Murders in the Rue Morgue marks the beginnings of the detective tales that are so popular today. Dupin, Poe's created detective, uses process of elimination to solve the tragic deaths of Madame and Mademoiselle L'Espanaye. With such pieces as a locked door, no means of escape, and witnesses that have differing statements, the reader keeps on guessing as to the perpetrator of the crime. What kind of animal does the murderer have to be to commit such a horrific crime?

As a side note . . . a couple of months ago, I participated in my first ever mystery dinner. The night was filled with so many elements from Poe's suspenseful tale . . . a locked door, secret passages, hidden exits, and evidence slowly disclosed throughout the evening. It was such a fun-filled, suspenseful night that I cannot wait for another just like it! I never realized until now that we should all be thankful to Poe for evenings such as these!

Click here for Kristen's original post.

I believe that this short was meant to actually be more humorous than what I took it for! For me, it was just okay; however, I will say, Poe had a way with words on this one. Just look at how he describes the uncle . . .

"He was a little, pursy, pompous, passionate semicircular somebody, with a red nose, a thick scull, [sic] a long purse, and a strong sense of his own consequence. With the best heart in the world, he contrived, through a predominant whim of contradiction, to earn for himself, among those who only knew him superficially, the character of a curmudgeon."

This short story was very difficult to read!! According to Kristen's post, it was written in an Irish brogue, making it many times barely even decipherable. However, I did find that if you attempted to read it aloud, it was a little easier to understand than just reading it silently to yourself. I guess hearing the words helped me to figure out what they were meant to be when I could not distinguish them thru the writing!! Anyways, once I figured this out and finished the story, I had a smile on my face and a laugh in my belly!! It was truly a funny tale!! A very nice change for Poe!!

To One in Paradise is a short poem with yet another one of Poe's favorite themes, love and loss. Though Poe writes about the topic of losing a loved one often (and not surprising considering his own personal circumstances), I personally find this one to be one that stands out. Though it centers around the narrator's grief, the words that Poe chose to describe the grief are absolutely beautiful. I just love the way this one reads . . . so much so that I read it quite a few times before actually sitting down to share my thoughts. This is my personal favorite stanza:

And all my days are trances, / And all my nightly dreams / Are where thy dark eye glances, / And where they footstep gleams -- / In what ethereal dances / By what eternal streams!

Click here for Kristen's original post.

To My Mother

From the title of this poem, I automatically assume Poe is writing in honor of his mother; however, after reading it, I immediately discover he was actually writing about his mother-in-law, the mother of the woman he "loved so dearly." Poe never really knew his own mother, so he decided that the mother of the love of his life was "dearer than the mother [he] knew." It's really a very nice ode.

Click here for Kristen's original post.

The Forest Reverie

When I first read The Forest Reverie, I thought that it seemed so atypical of Poe; however, then I realized just how talented this man truly was. Though he is most well-known for his macabre writing, he also had a beautiful side to him (e.g., To My Mother), a humorous side (e.g., Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling), and of course, a mysterious side (e.g., The Murders in the Rue Morgue) as well. I'm beginning to see the many sides of this author and can only just imagine how complicated a person he must have been beyond the infamous dark side.

Click here for Kristen's original post.

The Assignation

This short story reminded me so much of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Two people are madly in love, but cannot be together except in death. For me, this short was just okay. I had a hard time getting into the story because of the very detailed descriptions of the material objects . . . something that I don't really see how to do with the rest of the story. My attention just kept reverting to my many unpacked boxes!

Click here for Kristen's original post.


To Diddling, all I can say is . . . . Hmmmmm . . . How does Poe know so much about diddling?!?! :)

Oh, and for those like me who had no idea what diddling was . . . verb. -- to cheat; swindle; hoax (according to dictionary.com). Though I eventually figured out what it meant, it really would have been helpful to know BEFORE I read it!!

Click here for Kristen's original post.

The Island of the Fay

The Island of the Fay is yet another short story by Poe, yet a much more fanciful one. Poe ponders nature . . . "a whole whose form (that of the sphere) is the most perfect and most inclusive of all; whose path is among associate planets; whose meek handmaiden is the moon, whose mediate sovereign is the sun . . ." Isn't that just so beautifully written?

By the end, Poe then turns to the life of the Fay (i.e., fairy) . . . how he witnesses her life. "She stood erect . . . her attitude seemed indicative of joy." However, the joy turns to sorrow after passing through the shade. As he ponders, Poe watches the Fay's life pass through the darkness until he "beheld her magical figure no more."

For me, it only makes me ponder how much this story seems to parallel Poe's. Did he start out full of joy, but lost hope through all the darkness of his life?

When all is said and done, I really liked this one!

Click here for Kristen's original post.

An Enigma

An Enigma is just that . . . a mystery to me!! I honestly just don't get this one! Anyone care to shed some light on it for me?!?!

Click here for Kristen's original post.

That's it FINALLY!! Stay tuned . . . more book reviews to come! In the meantime, the next selection for Poe Fridays is The Gold Bug. See you again soon!


  1. Love it! I'm glad you kept reading along. I think this has been such a learning experience about Poe. He's got so much more depth than I ever realized.

  2. So true! He was much more complex than I ever realized and his diverse writing has opened my eyes to it thanks to you!! :)


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