Student evaluates Edgar Allan Poe


Edgar Allan Poe did not have the easiest life, and it is something that he reflected on in his writing, which is probably why I admire him so much. Easily my all-time favorite, I enjoy Poe’s deep, disturbing stories with phenomenal vocabulary and great detail.

I hate to be cliche, but “The Tell-Tale Heart” is one of my favorites. Who doesn’t love an in-depth look at how guilt overpowers the mind? The way that he describes, in such a short amount of time, the flip from pure hatred to guilt is fantastic. I can see in my mind the man, laughing a little too loudly and being too calm when the police are around, and finally the sweat dripping down his forehead, his breathing becoming fast and his heartbeat quickening as he screams that the man’s heart is still beating under the floorboards. Poe understood the workings of our inner selves, and how emotions took a toll on our bodies.

Another classic, “Annabel Lee,” is one that I can never get tired of. Recounting the love of his beloved Virginia, Poe shows his heartbreak. It’s a beautiful poem, telling of finding a love so pure and true, only to have it taken away by the gods who are jealous of such a bond. Even though their marriage was not exactly approved of, as she was his 13-year-old cousin, he loved her passionately. When she died in 1947, Poe was devastated. “Annabel Lee” is the last thing written by him, and he did a beautiful job. I can feel his passion in each word, and though Poe is known mostly for his dark tales, “Annabel Lee” is a love poem and he executes it wonderfully.

Among his many other famous works and favorites, I love “The Black Cat.” It’s such a twisted tale, and reveals yet another human emotion in its purest form: disappointment, coupled with alcoholism. The man becomes worse and worse, at first killing hurting his beloved cat, and ultimately murdering his wife.

When the police come, he acts nonchalant, until there is the scratching from behind the walls, which he discovers is the terrible cat he hated. The detail in the story is ridiculous, and the images created in my mind are dark and disturbing (which, surprisingly, I’m not complaining about). The fact that Poe could portray these things in his stories and poetry is testament to what a phenomenal writer he was.

There is so much mystery revolving around Poe’s life, and I suppose that’s another reason I am drawn to him. I’ll never understand the dark place in his soul which opened and allowed him to write such stories. I’ll never know what his dying words were, whether they be “Reynolds” or “Lord help my poor soul.” I’ll never know why he fell in love with his cousin who was only 13. What I do know is this: any time that man put quill to paper, he created artwork, and though his mind may be a tainted one, he was a literary genius and will always be respected for what he has written.