Edgar Allan Poe: Writing Techniques
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.
” -Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe, an author and poet, has written many dark and mysterious works throughout his life, highlighting his writing techniques. In Poe’s many poems and short stories, including The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, the sonnet Silence, and many more, expresses a dark side and twisted thinking to show new moods and tones. All throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s works, he continues to use a mysterious tone conveying this through dark imagery, creepy motives,mysterious settings, and suspenseful moods. In The Cask of Amontillado, one of Poe’s short stories, he sets a mysterious mood using the setting and its imagery. At the beginning of the story, Montresor and Fortunato start down the catacombs lined with bodies. The catacomb is dark and creepy, for if you wanted to see anything you would need a torch, for instance, “Here our brightly burning lights seemed weak indeed… We could see the bones of the dead lying in large piles along the walls.
The stones of the walls were wet and cold” (Poe 70). This sets a gloomy and mysterious mood. The walls are damp, as well as cold, which sets this gloomy depressing mood since rain is symbolized with sadness. Also, the light being dim in the dark cavern sets a mysterious mood wondering what is ahead and what could be hiding in the shadows. Poe uses these kinds of settings to send a dark, gloomy mood upon the readers, then sending them into the tone he is trying to convey.
Edgar Allan Poe has also written many poems, in these poems he creates many mysterious moods through a dark tone. One of his poems and sonnets, Silence, he talks about our body and mind (or soul) separately and how to contact them, he also speaks of the fear of death and to avoid it. Poe says, “There is a two-fold Silence–sea and shore– Body and soul” and “Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf, That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod, No foot of man) commend thyself to God!” describing these things throughout the sonnet. In this poem, Poe starts off telling the audience that the only way to really speak what is in your heart and soul, is to die, but backs this up explaining that you should not fear death. He states death is natural an that only God can change it. Many of his poems talk about life and death, reflecting the way he looks at the world, and this creates a dark mood going through the reader as one reads it.
Poe gets this mood to the reader using a depressing tone, one seen in many of his works. His dark writing style is reflected through the dark and depressing tones he uses, to get similar moods across the readers. In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, the suspense is highlighted as an ongoing factor throughout the story, making it pulling for people to read. The story opens as man writing, frantically, about the future an what has happened in his past. He explains, that certain instances in his life “have terrified–have tortured–have destroyed me” and that he will die the following day (Poe 1).
Then he says that “I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others” in which the cat, his favorite pet, started to dislike him (Poe 1). This results in him then cutting one of the cat’s eyes out, and as he saw the cat suffer day to day after, he killed it. Later he finds a new cat, but he hated it. While his hatred grew, his wife’s love for it also grew. One day he went to go kill the cat, his wife stopped his by getting in the way, then killing his wife. He hides her body in his cellar, later to be found by the police but, “with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder” the cat was sitting of her head (Poe 1).
In this story, the author, or narrator,continuously adds suspense to the story to keep readers hooked. When the story starts, the reader wonders what did he do the deserve this fate. The readers see that its name is Pluto which in Greek mythology is the god of the underworld, also this a black cat seen as bad luck and witches in disguise. This adds suspense because with such bad omens in the story, readers wonder if the cat is the reason for his terrible fate. And the readers wonder if this could foreshadow anything in the future, it does.
In the middle of the story when he gets the new cat and kills his wife in a revenge plot against it, this also builds suspense by the reader contemplating the narrator’s actions, wondering if these actions will have consequences. As this story comes to a close, and the ending becomes clear Poe leaves a resting thought in the mind of the readers, how did the cat get there and how did it live through all of this. Suspense is a common writing style found in Edgar Allan Poe’s writings an is found a lot in the short story The Black Cat. Edgar Allan Poe wrote many works throughout his life, showing different writing techniques like imagery, settings, suspense and many more. Throughout his stories A Cask of Amontillado and The Black Cat, readers see imagery and suspense repeated many times. And in Poe’s sonnet Silence, readers see the different moods Poe conveys through his tone.
Edgar Allan Poe has done so many amazing things in his life with writing, all of these times he shows his audience his style.