Poe “Alone” Analysis Essay

Poe “Alone” Analysis Essay.

Edgar Allan Poe is a well-known yet commonly misunderstood author. This is primarily due to his own personal tragedies that he suffered throughout his youth. The poem, “Alone” is a glimpse into the troubled soul of the now famous Poe and how he never looked at life the same as his peers.

In the first four lines of “Alone” it immediately becomes apparent that from a very young age Poe had been aware that he was different. For example, the lines “From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were – I have not seen as others saw,” illustrate that he has lived his life accompanied by sorrow and loneliness.

The author lives in a depressed state in which he cannot find joy or happiness from the same things as others: “I could not bring my passions from a common spring.” Then he continues with, “From the same source I have not taken my sorrow,” meaning that his sorrows are his own and not shared with anyone else which brings the reader to the title “Alone.

Poe’s troubled life influenced his writings by giving them a slightly grim tone. In “Alone” Poe tries to express that he always sees the dark in everything. Even when joy presents itself he cannot embrace it enough to overcast the sorrow in his heart: “I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone; and all I lov’d I lov’d alone.” The italicized “I” further emphasizes his solitude.

Around halfway through his poem the author begins to question why he cannot embrace the beauty around him: “From the torrent or the fountain – From the red cliff of the mountain – From the sun that round me roll’d – in its autumn tint of gold.” At first read these lines seem to portray beauty but
looking deeper there is another theme. The red cliff or blood on the mountain and sunlight rolling around him instead of shining on him, and the autumn setting where things start to die are all examples of the grim picture Poe paints.

He sees the beautiful world around him, but seeing it is all he can do. He cannot grasp and hang onto the joy around him. Poe looks to the clear blue sky heavens and sees only a cloud that takes the form of a demon symbolizing a coming storm. This refers to his words, “From the lightning in the sky – as it passes my flying by – From the thunder and the storm – and the cloud that took the form, (When the rest of Heaven was blue) – of a demon in my view.”

The poem “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe is evidence of his sorrow and troubled life. No matter what joy presents itself Poe’s heart always drifts to a dark, grim place. Each and every line digs a little deeper into Poe’s childhood where he lost everyone he cared about and further emphasizes why he carries this loneliness.

Poe “Alone” Analysis Essay

Analysis of Gold Bug Essay

Analysis of Gold Bug Essay.

“The Gold-Bug” includes a cipher that uses polyphonic substitution. Though he did not invent “secret writing” or cryptography, Poe certainly popularized it during his time. To most people in the 19th century, cryptography was mysterious and those able to break the codes were considered gifted with nearly supernatural ability. Poe had drawn attention to it as a novelty over four months in the Philadelphia publication Alexander’s Weekly Messenger in 1840. He had asked readers to submit their own substitution ciphers, boasting he could solve all of them with little effort.

Poe wrote “The Gold-Bug” as one of the few pieces of literature to incorporate ciphers as part of the story. Poe’s character Legrand’s explanation of his ability to solve the cipher is very like Poe’s explanation in “A Few Words on Secret Writing.

Poe’s depiction of the African servant Jupiter is often considered stereotypical and racist from a modern perspective. Jupiter is depicted as superstitious and so lacking in intelligence that he cannot tell his left from his right.

Black characters in fiction during this time period were not unusual, but Poe’s choice to give him a speaking role was. Critics and scholars, however, question if Jupiter’s accent was authentic or merely comic relief, suggesting it was not similar to accents used by blacks in Charleston but possibly inspired by Gullah.

Though the story is often included amongst the short list of detective stories by Poe, “The Gold-Bug” is not technically detective fiction because Legrand withholds the evidence until after the solution is given. Nevertheless, the Legrand character is often compared to Poe’s fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin due to his use of “ratiocination.

“The Gold-Bug” inspired Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel about treasure-hunting, Treasure Island (1883). Stevenson acknowledged this influence: “I broke into the gallery of Mr. Poe… No doubt the skeleton [in my novel] is conveyed from Poe.

Discussion Questions

Compare William Legrand to August Dupin as detectives.

Comment: As in “The Premature Burial,” the first half of “The Gold Bug” creates what is in hindsight an extremely misleading atmosphere.

What is Jupiter’s role in the story?

Were you surprised that Legrand found treasure? What was your opinion of Legrand and the narrator at the early part of the story?

How does Poe establish an atmosphere of fear and suspense in this short story?

Poe often uses unreliable narrators in his stories. Discuss the narrator and protagonist in The Gold Bug.

Is this a detective story? Why or why not? If not, how could you make it one?

Those Poe stories which highlight the abilities of one exceptional central character often make use of foils to emphasize his superiority. Discuss who are the foils in this story and Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Purloined Letter.

This is one of Poe’s stories with some humor. Why and how does he use humor here? Contrast with the humor in The Cask of Amontillado and The Purloined Letter.

Analysis of Gold Bug Essay