Edgar Allan Poe developed a theory of the construction of a tale. He wrote:
A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents – he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the out bringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one preestablished design.
Analyze Poe’s careful crafting of the works we studied. Keep his theory of the short story in mind – the idea that a story must have a “singular effect.” He carries this philosophy over to his poetry as well. In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” what is the singular effect of this story? How do the setting, characters, and plot all work together to carry this effect to the end? Be sure to also include the purpose of the literature within the story (“The Haunted Palace” and the Ethelred story).
How does he craft “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven”? How do the elements of each poem work together to carry a “singular effect” to the end?
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