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Edgar Allan Poe. 1809-1849. His Family and Tragic Life. Born in Boston The son of traveling actors Tragic and unhappy life. Tragic and Unhappy Life. Mother died (of tuberculosis), father deserted him at the age of two

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his family and tragic life
His Family and Tragic Life
  • Born in Boston
  • The son of traveling actors
  • Tragic and unhappy life
tragic and unhappy life
Tragic and Unhappy Life
  • Mother died (of tuberculosis), father deserted him at the age of two
  • Custody was given to Mr. and Mrs. John Allan- John refused to legally adopt Poe
  • constant disagreements with his step-father
. . .continued
  • Studied briefly at the University of Virginia
  • Drinking and gambling difficulties kept him from continuing at UVA
. . .continued
  • Received an appointment to West Point, but he provoked his own dismissal
  • Caused a final separation between Poe and his step-father
. . .continued
  • In 1836 married his 14 year old cousin, Virginia (he was 27 years old)
  • Last 12 years of life worked as a journalist, editor, and creative writer
. . . continued
  • Lived in poverty stricken conditions
  • In 1846 wife died after a long illness (tuberculosis)
. . . continued
  • Died in Baltimore after he was found in a drunken stupor
  • Died a poor man
poe s work
Poe’s Work

Known for:

  • Tales of mystery and terror stories
  • Introducing the modern detective story
just a few titles
Short Stories

“The Tell-Tale Heart”

“The Cask of Amontillado”

“The Black Cat”

“The Pit and The Pendulum”


“The Raven”

“Annabel Lee”

“To Helen”


Just a Few Titles
  • Sometimes strange special effects have been linked to his addiction to opium
  • Addiction not uncommon in the 1800’s, because of frequent use of laudanum, an opium based medicine, to treat headaches and stomach pains
  • Reference to a famous historical or literary figure or event
  • Best sources are literature, history, Greek myth, and the Bible
  • Serves to explain or clarify or enhance whatever subject
gothic elements
Gothic Elements
  • supernatural horrors and an atmosphere of unknown terror pervades the action
  • High emotion, sentimentalism, but also pronounced anger, surprise, and especially terror
  • use of words indicating fear, mystery, etc.: apparition, devil, ghost, haunted, terror, fright, fainting
  • Something that is itself and yet also represents something else
  • Universal symbols embody universally recognizable meanings
  • Invested symbols are given symbolic meaning by the way an author uses them in a literary work
you will identify how poe uses allusion gothic elements and symbols in the pit and the pendulum
You will identify how Poe uses allusion, gothic elements, and symbols in “The Pit and the Pendulum.”