“The House of Usher”- A narrator arrives at the House ofUsher, a very creepy mansion owned by his old friend Roderick Usher.- Roderick is ill, sick in the mind andhas not left the mansions for years- He writes to the narrator, asking forhelp.- The narrator is told by Roderick abouthis sickness, the bloodline and the family- Roderick says that his sister,Madeline, is also seriously ill and will soon die- The narrator attempts to calm Roderickdown, he can only think about the death- Soon, Madeline dies and the two charactersentomb the body under the mansion- The narrator discovers that Roderickand Madeline were twins and shared a supernatural, telepathic, bond. – Few days later, Roderick and thenarrator read a book out loud- As he progresses to read, an echo-likenoise from under the mansion – Both characters immediately becomeanxious- Roderick believes that Madeline was buried alive and is returning tohaunt them- She returns, jumping at Usher, and eventually,both falling and dying – The narrator runs away and watches theHouse of Usher collapse into a lake “Eleonora”- Life of narrator, his cousin and auntin a paradise-like “The Valley of the Many-Colored Grass” with fragrantflowers, trees, and a “River of Silence”- They lived isolated, but still happy- After 15 years, narrator and hiscousin Eleonora fall in love- Eleonora is very sick and fears whenshe dies, narrator’s love will search beyond the valley- Under the “might Ruler of theUniverse”, narrator promises to never love anyone else- The death causes the valley to becomecold and desolate, narrator leaves and ventures onwards.- Meets a woman called Ermengarde,marries her- Eleonora’s ‘ghost’ visits the newcouple and forgives them for breaking the promise, and says that those “reasonsshall be made known to thee in Heaven, of thy vows unto Eleonora” “ThePit and the Pendulum” – The narrator relates how he wastortured and put into prison. – He was first placed in a cell whichhas a pit in the centre.
– He was then strapped to a table as apendulum swung back and forth above him, as if it would slice him in half – He barely made it out of there alive – The Spanish Inquisition sentenced thenarrator to death. – He was put into a dark, gloomy cell,where he nearly fell into the pit – certain death – He was then strapped to a table, overwhich a blade swung like a pendulum. He watched as the pendulum swung lower andlower towards him. – He managed to escape by covering theropes in meat, attracting rats to chew through them – His captors attempt to force him intothe pit by closing the walls that surround him. – He’s saved at the last minute by the brigadeof the French Army”The Black Cat”- The narrator and his wife love animals- They have pets, from which Pluto the cat is the favourite- However, the narrator becomes an alcoholic, and his life turnsbitter- The narrator becomes very abusive to his pets and wife- The narrator becomesabusive towards his wife and towards their animals, sparing only Pluto. – One night, very drunk, the narrator ends up torturing Pluto- The next day, remorse fills the narrator’s life- But his soul is dark, and he kills his cat by hanging it- The narrator’s house burns down the same night – he, and his wifeescape – He is haunted by the death of his favourite pet, and regrets thekilling very much- Some months later, back in deep drinking, the narrator sees ablack cat, like Pluto- He starts to like it, and brings it home – wife is pleased, butthe cat only irritates the narrator- Narrator enraged by cat, attempts to kill his pet- The wife defends the pet, and the narrator kills her instead – He puts the body behind a wall, and peacefully carries on withlife- Soon, police are aware of the wife being missing.- He pleads innocence, and discusses on how his house is strongly built- He ‘teases’ the spot of his wife’s body, to which there is a wailingnoise.
– The bricks of the wall are removed and the cat, sitting on thebody is making the wailing sound, as the narrator hid the cat as well.Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories are filled with excitement,horror, anxiety and death. They do all share these traits, but the storiesthemselves are complete polar opposites. Edgar Allan Poe’s short storiesall have a unique and darksense. The mysterious, gothic writing style easily sparks drama and emotion into the reader. The majority of his stories tend tohave an overarching theme of death, fear and loss.
His style of writing is easily observed throughhis language, tone, sentence structure and articulation. He commonly usesdashes, exclamation marks, semicolons, and commas, as he believed this wouldadd suspense and build on the theme of gothic writing. His sentence structurefluctuated largely. He used very small and distinct sentences, as seen in ‘TheTell Tale Heart”. However, some of his sentences were long, but still were as grippingand interesting as the short phrases. Edgar Allen Poe used punctuation in itsability to make a specific point clear.
By doing this, the reader was fullyindulged in his writing. His use of double dashes was a key factor in theaddition of suspense in his writing. It acted like a pause, a moment for thereader to wonder on what will follow.
This is seen in the beginning of “TheTell-Tale Heart”, “True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been andam; but why will you say that I am mad?” The tension of the story can easily befelt. reader in, so that the reader has to determine whether or not thenarrator is sane. Also, he uses semicolons to lengthen andsupport a sentence, usually by joining multiple phrases together. A semicolonstresses the narrator’s insistence in his sanity. Last of all, his use of exclamationmarks shows the narrator’s state of mind, thoughts, and emotions. Without theexclamation mark, the impact of the text would not be as strong.