Edgar Allan Poe, Short Story Structure and Narrative Technique

Great analysis of Poe’s stories . I now want to go back and read them all!

Flynn Gray

Having experienced a bit of a writing slump lately, I have been re-reading my favourite Edgar Allan Poe stories for both enjoyment and inspiration.

General Observations:

  • Poe’s stories always begin with some some background scene-setting, and often a little insight into the narrators mind.
  • The setting is a vital part of almost all of the tales, providing much of the atmosphere and gut-clenching terror. From the House of Usher and its bleak surroundings, to the horrifying dungeon/torture chamber of The Pit and the Pendulum, and the catacombs of The Cask of Amontillado, Poe utilises dismal and terrifying settings to great effect.
  • Almost always told in first person, though narrative distance varies. The Masque of the Red Death, for example, is told as a tale may be told around a campfire, with no evidence of direct participation in the events by the narrator. On the other hand, The…

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