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Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe By: James Williams In every story conceived from the mind of Edgar Allan Poe, a scent of his essence had been molded into each to leave the reader with a better understanding of Poe's life. Poe displayed his greatest life's achievements and his worst disappointments in a series of stories created throughout his whole life. It is the goal of this research paper to reveal symbolic facts about his life and define these hidden maxims in a way that is easy to understand and beneficial to the reader. Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts ("Poe, Edgar Allan," Encyclopedia Britannica 540). Poe's parents were David Poe, an actor based in Baltimore and Elizabeth Arnold Poe, an actress born in England, also based in Baltimore (540). Upon birth, Poe had been cursed. Shortly after his birth, Poe's father abandoned the family and left Poe and his mother to fend for themselves. Not long after that, the cruel hands of fate had worked their horrid magic once again by claiming his mother. In 1811, when Poe was two, his mother passed away, leaving him with his second depressing loss (540). After his father's cowardly retreat and mother's sudden death, Poe was left in the capable hand of his godfather, John Allan. John Allan was a wealthy merchant based in Richmond, Virginia with the means, knowledge and affluence to provide a good life for Poe ("Poe, Edgar Allan," Encyclopedia Britannica 540). In 1815, Poe and his new family moved to England to provide Poe a classical education (which was finished out in Richmond. Upon returning from England in 1826, Poe enrolled at the University of Virginia ("Poe, Edgar Allan," Encyclopedia Britannica 540). This was a magnificent feat for him, because Poe was only seventeen at the time while the normal age for attendance was nineteen (Quinn 130). For the first time, life had hit a high note and provided for him what seemed to be a path paved with gold. Upon entering college, Poe realized his path of gold was really a mountain of grief and disappointment. In no more time than it took Poe to unpack his bags, he was already involved in immoral acts of gambling and drinking. He developed gambling debts from 2,000 to 2,500 dollars, which caused some fraction between his godfather and himself (Quinn 130). After eleven months at the university, Poe dropped out due to his debts, but mostly for John Allan's refusal to pay for them ("Poe, Edgar Allan," Encyclopedia Britannica 540). No sooner then Poe was home, then he been invited to a party of Sarah Elmira Royster's, his sweetheart before college. When he arrived at the party, he learned that it was Elmira's engagement party, striking a dramatic blow to Poe's heart (540). After John Allan and Poe had their quarrels over Poe's gambling addiction, he joined the army under the alias of "Edgar Allan Perry" ("Poe, Edgar Allan," Encyclopedia Britannica 540). In 1829, Poe was honorably discharged, but not before attaining the rank of Sergeant Major (540). A year later, John Allan scheduled an appointment for Poe with the West Point U.S. Military Academy (540). Poe had not been in the academy for a year when he was dismissed from West Point. It was after his military career when Poe starting to become a successful writer of poetry and short stories. In 1831, Poems included three of his greatest works: "To Helen," "The City in the Sea," and "Israfel" ("Poe, Edgar Allan," World Book Encyclopedia 591). When his poems failed to reach recognition, Poe began to write short stories such as "MS. Found in a Bottle" in 1833 (591). It was around this time when he married his fourteen-year old cousin, Virginia Clemm, who was a very influential character in Poe's later works (591). In 1840, Poe published a collection of his first twenty-five stories called Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque ("Poe, Edgar Allan," World Book Encyclopedia 591). Even when this collection failed to sale or gain recognition, Poe still kept a daily routine of working on literature. In 1843 he sold 300,000 copies of "The Gold Bug" (592). Also in 1843 Poe published one his greatest works, "The Tell-Tale Heart" ("Poe Edgar Allan," Encarta Encyclopedia n. pag). Then again in 1845, Poe struck gold with his twelve stories in Tales and 30 poems in The Raven and Other Poems (592). In 1848, Poe explained his theories on the universe in his well-known piece, "Eureka" ("Poe, Edgar Allan," World Book Encyclopedia 592). In 1843, Poe wrote the timeless classic of "The Tell-Tale Heart" (Encarta N. pag). It was the poem, "Raven" that brought Poe the most recognition and finally provided a spot for him among America's greatest writers. Writers and critics were bestowing great praises to him during this time. It was with his stories of mystery and murder featuring C. Auguste Dupin that inspired one critic to write, "Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?" (Quinn 139). "It is not enough--certainly for literary criticism it is not enough to call his stories, strange, extraordinary, fantastic" ("Edgar Allan Poe, The Dark Genius of the Short Story" n. pag) is a perfect quote to summarize Poe's works and their effect on critics and people. This period of tranquility and good tidings would turn out to be Poe's last. In 1847, Virginia Clemm died of tuberculosis and in doing so added one more name to Poe's list of lost loves ("Poe, Edgar Allan," World Book Encyclopedia 591). Her death had affected Poe more greatly than any other of his former loses. Poe was once quoted saying: Each time I felt all the agonies of her death--and at each accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly and clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity. But I am constitutionally sensitive--nervous in a very unusual degree. During these fits of absolute unconsciously I drank, God only knows how often or how much. (Buranelli 38) Despite the tremendous agony Poe felt over Virginia Clemm's death, he still passed a sigh of relief over her passing. In Poe's belief, death should not be feared, but instead it should be sought (Quinn 137). As Poe had said in "For Annie," "The fever called 'Living' is conquered at last" (Buranelli 38). For Poe, when Virginia died she escaped the curse of life. In 1849, Poe met up with his former sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster and became engaged shortly after ("Poe, Edgar Allan," World Book Encyclopedia 591). As fate would have it, just days before his wedding, Poe stopped in Baltimore and disappeared. On October 3rd, 1849, Poe was found lying in a side street anesthetized (591). He was taken to a hospital where he lay unconscious



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