The Life and Poetry of Edgar Allen Poe
There have been many different writers who became famous over time because of the way they wrote and the writings themselves. But when asked which one you admire, and why, what name will you say For many, the name may be Shakespeare, or maybe even Hemingway, but when asked this same question, I answered very abruptly with the name, Edgar Allen Poe. Over the next few pages, I will inform you of the life that E.A. Poe endured and the writings he produced over his forty year era. What was it that made his poems and short stories so saddening What was his motive to writing about such horrible things
On the night of January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts, Edgar Poe was born to the parents of Elizabeth Arnald Hopkins, and David Poe, Jr. Both Elizabeth and David were actors in Boston. When Poe was one year of age, his parents separated and Elizabeth took Poe in her custody. But soon afterwards, in December of 1811, Elizabeth died of reasons that could not be found. Edgars father David, soon died, or disappeared. Edgar was then put in for adoption and became part of the Allen family. This is where Edgar Poe got the name Allen from in his name. John and Frances Valentine Allen became the new parents of E.A. Poe. (Gordino, Timeline)
At the age of six, Poe went to a school in England for unexplainable reasons. In 1820, Poe returned home to finish his schooling in America, and became quite the accomplisher. In 1823, Poe became an athletic success from the William Burke University. But only two years later, John Allen??™s uncle died, leaving John with thousands of dollars in his will. Poe then enrolled into the University of Virginia in 1826, but ended up dropping out due to money problems. (_Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, _Barnes & Nobel)
Poe then published his first story, The Manuscript Found in a Bottle, and becomes a famed writer and poet. Poe then joined the United States Army the same year. Within one year of being in the Army, Poe got promoted to Sgt. Major because of his exceptional job and determination. Even though he accomplished all of this, the next year, in 1829, Elizabeth Allen died. Poe shortly after returned home from the Army and enrolled into West Point. Poe was sponsored by John Allen who was very proud to know that Poe was becoming something that John wanted. After a few years in West Point, Edgar intentionally got kicked out in 1831. In 1832, Poe began to write more and tried to submit the writings to magazines, and newspapers, each time being rejected. Out of desperation, Poe wrote John Allen a letter asking for his help, but was ignored by John. The next year, in 1834, Allen dies and leaves E.A. Poe nothing in his will. After all of Poe??™s determination and enthusiasm to getting a job, he decided to reenter his short story, The Manuscript Found in a Bottle, in a contest and wins with no trouble at all. Poe then won $250 and got a job. (Gordino, Timeline)
Poe??™s cousin, Virginia, was thirteen at the time of her marriage to Poe, who was twenty-seven. The two of them married in May of the year 1836. Their marriage was frowned upon by everyone who knew about the new couple. A couple years later, in 1838, Poe wrote Ligeia, and then wrote his other famous short story, The Fall of the House of Usher in 1839. That same year, Poe??™s first Volume of writings became published to the public; however, no money was received by Poe from his publisher. In 1841, Poe wrote, Murders in the Rue Morgue. Virginia broke a blood vessel in her hand while playing the piano in 1842. In 1843, Poe won $100 for his story, Golden Bug. In 1844 however, Poe moved to New York and wrote Hoax Balloon, which offended thousands of people all over the state and eastern coast. In a state of guilt, Poe then wrote the story/letter Purloined Letter. Then in 1845, the poem that most people know Edgar Allen Poe by, ???The Raven??? was written. While Poe still had his job from before, he worked about fourteen hours a day, but still did not make enough for a living. In 1846, Poe composed The Philosophy of Composition. After a newspaper stuck their nose somewhere it should not have been, Poe sued them for libel and won $225 from the case the same year. (Gordino, Timeline)
Sadly enough, Virginia died the next year on January 30, 1847 from tuberculosis. Poe went through a long state of depression for the next year taking up drinking and the real beginning of his depressed writings. In 1848, Poe wrote Poetic Principle. The next year, 1849, E.A. Poe started his midlife crises and midlife tourism era. On June 30, he left New York City and went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to visit a man by the name of John Sartain. July 13 came and Poe went to Richmond, Virginia. He stayed at the Swan Tavern Hotel there in Richmond for a while. During his stay in Richmond, Poe joined a group by the name of ???Sons of Temperance??? in a desperate effort to stop drinking. Whether this worked or not, I??™m not sure. Poe then lectured on his piece, Poetic Principle there in Virginia. On September 27, Poe returned to Philadelphia to see his friend John again. Now no one is quite sure whether or not his train was delayed, or if he just didn??™t want to go that unparticular day, but he ended up actually getting on the wrong train on September 30, and went to Baltimore, Maryland. Within four days, Poe did something that someone didn??™t like and he was found unconscious and taken to the hospital on October 3. Over the next four days, the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with E.A. Poe, but couldn??™t get any information. Edgar Allen Poe died on October 7, 1849 of unexplainable causes. (Gordino,_ Timeline_)
To analyze the theses of the paper, I read a few of E.A. Poe??™s writings. The writings that were chosen were, The Raven, Spirits of the Dead, The Premature Burial, and Never Bet the Devil Your Head.
The Raven, one of Poe??™s greatest poems, is about the confusion of life inside a mans head that leads him to terrifying thoughts and conclusions. He is haunted by a raven that is trapped inside the man??™s den. The poem is a depressing piece of work that uses a dialect that is almost hard to understand. The poem was written in 1845, two years before Poe??™s wife died. The Raven also follows the format of his stories. (Gordino, The Raven)
Spirits of the Dead is a story about the voices and lives of a human soul after the owner dies. It talks about the pain of the transfer from body to soul. The story also talks about the souls talking amongst themselves, as well as the living people. The story was written in 1829, the same year Poe??™s foster mother died. (Gordino, Spirits of The Dead)
The Premature Burial, written in 1850, talks first about terrifying deaths where people are drown, shot, suffocated, and buried alive. Then there are two examples given where someone dies and someone lives. The first example is when a lady is locked inside her family safe and dies inside. She is left unfound for many years without disruption until an expiration date company opens the safe to find a three year old skeleton lying on the floor, along with a very horrifying stench of the dead corps. (Gordino, the_ Premature Burial_)
Never Bet the Devil Your Head is about a friend of the speaker, Toby Dammit, whom whenever he saw something that nobody would believe, or was being caught in a lie, he would say, ???I bet the Devil my head on it.??? The story takes place with a walk between friends through the green area of open land. When the two of the friends stumble upon a bridge, an old man appears. The man then to kill the friend with the habit of betting his head but is convinced not to. Instead, the old man ???gets inside??? of Toby??™s head and possesses him for the rest of his life. Spirits of the Dead was written in the year 1850. The strange thing about the story though is that at first, at the beginning of the story, it has absolutely nothing to do with the title. Instead of starting with the story, it begins talking about how stories with no morals are boring and almost pointless to read, let alone write. (Gordino, Never Bet The Devil Your Head)
_Historic Events during E.A. Poe??™s Life_
During E.A. Poe??™s life, he witnessed several major events in our history. He witnessed two wars, and several presidential elections. When Edgar Allen Poe was only one year of age, Thomas Jefferson became president. Soon after, in the year 1812, the event known as The War of 1812 took place. Poe was only three when his first war took place. In 1814, British forces burned down Washington D.C. in effort to take back America. The very next year, Poe witnessed the Battle of New Orleans, when pirates helped America sink the British Navel fleet. When Poe was seven years old, an event known only as ???The Year with No Summer??? froze the ground. This event is exactly what it sounds like. In 1816, the winter lasted all year long. The temperatures were so low, we consider them to be a ???little ice age???. Mississippi became the 20th state in 1817. In 1819, Spain gave Florida to America, making it the 27th state in 1845. In 1825, John Quincy Adams became president of the United States of America. In 1828, the construction of the first American rail road began construction. The B&O rail road connected Baltimore to Ohio. Andrew Jackson became President of the U.S. in 1829. In 1836, the Battle of the Alamo took place when Poe was only 27 years old. As time went on, nothing really big happened in our countries history until 1848. In this year, the California Gold Rush started. Poe went through the bad and good of this country??™s history.
The events that took place in Poe??™s life, personal or historical, most certainly impacted his writing style. Poe never really knew his parents, his foster parents did not approve of him or his dreams, and his wife died out of the blue when she was only 24 years old. Poe saw war, he felt accomplishment and disapproval, he felt pain and agony, and to top it all off, loneliness. No wonder his writings were so depressing and sad. He had almost no happiness in his life from the day he was born, to the day he died. (Gordino, Timeline)
Did Poe??™s life influence his writings The answer is yes, the writings were written with the mood of that specific time in history. My theses is now proven because I have researched everything that I could on E.A. Poe??™s life, and related it to his writings and their style, coming to the conclusion that the time of history Poe lived in, impacted his writings. Poe is one of, if not the greatest writer and poet to have ever lived. Dare to challenge