Category Archives: LITERARY ANALYSIS

SHORT ANALYSIS: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

As considered to be one master of Gothic tale, Edgar Allan Poe and his “Cask of Amontillado” contains many of the standard elements of Gothecism. He was fascinated with the materials and devices of the Gothic novel, although he preferred to work in the short story form. He was a great admirer of Walpole, and of the American Gothic writer Charles Brockden Brown. In his works, when one of the protagonist is wrestling with  guilt, Poe sometimes doubles his character and then arranges for one self to murder the other by burying him alive. In repeatedly telling stories of murderous doubles, Poe was attempting to deal with his own demons, his own repressed guilt. Poe’s biographer, William Bittener, claimed that Montressor and Fortunato are two sides of the same man Edgar Allan Poe as he saw himself while drinking. The shadow figures emerge as a personification of the narrator’s hostile feelings and thoughts. In his criticism and his daily life, Poe himself is striking back at those forces in society or particularly individuals who might have wronged him. Poe had showed in his work that the monsters outside are nothing compared to the monsters we carry within us. “The Cask of Amontillado” reflects and shows some of the societal views of the late 1840’s. For one, alcoholism was very prevalent in that past society. So it wouldn’t be surprising to anyone that a story from this era would have a driving force such as that of alcoholism. In that era, it was generally okay for people to drink, more so than today. Secondly, gruesome deaths were very much a part everyday life for the 1840’s people. Everyday, many criminals were put to death by means of the guillotine. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a grim death is the end of a man’s life and the end of the story.

The theme of revenge is a major theme in this story. It isn’t often that a revenge story of this nature comes into the hands of readers. “The Cask of Amontillado” is a very popular story, for many reasons. Even today, over 150 years after it was published, it is still being read. It was so eloquently written, and it has such vivid and detailed imagery. It caters to most people also, in that; it has elements to satisfy everyone’s taste in a good story. “The Cask of Amontillado” reflects a partial sector of society from the late 1840’s. It has elements of fear, especially the fear of death and the unknown. It illustrates some people’s way of thinking, such as the fact that some people don’t think before doing something. It also allows the reader to enter the mind of a murderer; not only to read what he is thinking, but also to understand what he is thinking. Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cast of Amontillado” shall forever live on in people’s hearts as a grisly tale of death, murder, and revenge.

 

Reference: Christopher Wanamaker 2011

 

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SHORT ANALYSIS: Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee by E.A.P.

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.
 ———————-
ANALYSIS:
The poem is written by the classic literary persona, Edgar Allan Poe in May 1849. The poem appears few months before his death in the Southern Literary Messenger in November 1849. The poem is one of the most famous works of Poe.  It can be easily guessed that it is a piece written as a dedication to someone whom he loves. This may refer to several women in Poe’s life but most literary scholars believe that the poem is dedicated in memory of Virginia Clemm. She is Poe’s wife who married him at the age of thirteen and died before she turned twenty-five in 1847. All the other women in Poe’s life, his mother and sister, also died young. This we can also trace his fascination about death-themed write-ups. Virginia’s death devastated Poe, who continued to abuse alcohol and drugs until his death.
The poem tells a story of an ideal female in an ideal setting. Fantasized and set in a beautiful kingdom by the sea; in the age of youth. The tone of the poem can be described as very dark, gloomy, and sad, No one is sure of the time that the poem takes place but it is hinted by the use of the word “sepulchre” which is a tomb, but was commonly used in the 13th century unlike today which hints that this occurred a very long time ago. Annabel Lee became the expression of his very soul. Its rhyme and rhythm encompassed a great many emotions, feelings, and desires that ranged from one spectrum to the other.

The Skylight Room by O. Henry

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

220px-william_sydney_porterBorn William Sidney Porter, this master of short stories is much better known   under his pen name “O. Henry.” He was born September 11, 1862 in N. Carolina. He has become a symbol to represent a recognizable species of short story writing. He wrote nearly three hundred stories. Most of O. Henry` s were translated into foreign languages. His stories are very American in language. And one of the most popular and famous story is “The Skylight Room”

PLOT SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

Introduction of the rooms and Miss Leeson, without a choice, buys the “skylight room” with money she can afford.

RISING ACTION

Meets Billy Jackson the Star and fellow lodgers

CLIMAX

Job becomes scarce so Miss Leeson goes  to her room without food, and dying from starvation

FALLING ACTION

Fellow lodgers finds her in her room and call an ambulance.

RESOLUTION

In typical O. Henry fashion, we get the surprise ending – gets treatment from  a doctor named William Jackson.

SETTING

New York City  probably in early 1990s.

CHARACTERS

  • Ms. Leeson
  • Mrs. Parker
  • Mr. Hoover
  • Ms. Longnecker
  • Mr. Skidder
  • Clara
  • William Jackson

POINT of VIEW

Third person

CONFLICT

  • MAN Vs. CIRCUMSTANCES (Dominant)
  • MAN Vs. SOCIETY

SYMBOLISM

  • Billy Jackson – her hopes and dreams
  • The skylight room – a metaphor of her life

THEME

The reality of life and our hopes

“No matter what situation you are in, you should always have an optimistic heart”

 

VOCABULARY

  • Lambrequin- a short piece of decorative jewelry hanging above a door.
  • Smite – strike with a firm blow
  • Cicerone- a tour guide, esp. one who explains antiquities
  • Contemptuous- showing contempt
  • Roguish- characteristic of a dishonest and unprincipled person
  • Tocsin- an alarm bell or signal
  • Cabalistic- referring to meanings of esoteric and mythical interpretations
  • Whimsical- playfully quaint or fanciful
  • Implacable- unstopable
  • Corpulence- the state of being fat

 

 

Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853) Herman Melville

About the Author

  • Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, shortstory writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. His best known works include Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences in Polynesian life, and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851). His famous short story Bartleby was published in 1853.

Plot

Introduction

  • The lawyer who is  also the narrator describes his self, place and the people he is working with. Then the arrival of Bartleby to their office to work as a scrivener.

Rising Action

  • Bartleby when asked to do a task (to examine a paper), didn’t obey and “prefers not to” do it.  Gives up with work resulting for the lawyer to fire him but despite that he choose to stay and live there that creeps everyone.

Climax

  • Unable to get rid of Bartleby, the Narrator moves to another building. Even if they already moved to another office, Bartleby continues to haunt the old building.

Falling Action

  • Bartleby is taken to prison but his weird action stays even in the jail.

Conclusion

  • Bartleby dies.

Characters

Bartleby, Unnamed Lawyer, Turkey, Nipper and Ginger Nut

Setting

  • New York City – Wall Street

POINT of VIEW

  • First Person

SYMBOLISM

  • The Office – a space for human relationship
  • The Wall – like the wall, Bartleby stayed, not moving for a long time. Also represents isolation.

IMAGERY – Visual Imagery

TONE

  • Normal and reflects work setting
  • Strange after Bartleby starts to neglect work

MOOD

  • Confusing and Sad

THEME

  • Pressure in business/work
  • Freedom

VOCABULARY

  • Ascertainable – capable of being ascertained or found out
  • Snug – enjoying comforting warmth and shelter in a small space
  • Orbicular – circular or nearly circular
  • Abrogation – an official or legal cancellation
  • Blaze – a strong flame that burns brightly
  • Wane – a gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number)
  • Remonstrate – argue in protest or opposition
  • Fervid – characterized by intense emotion
  • Cistern a tank for storing water, especially one supplying taps or as part of a flushing toilet.
  • Augmentedhaving been made greater in size or value.

An Angel in Disguise by T.S. Arthur

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Timothy Shay Arthur was born on June 6, 1809 and died on March 6, 1885. He was a popular 19th century American author, most famous for his temperance novel: “Ten Nights in Bar-Room and What I Saw There”(1854). Arthur’s ideas may seem simplistic or even oppressive today but many readers in  his time found him relevant, helpful, reassuring and compelling.

PLOT 

Introduction

  • Three children: John, Kate and Maggie leave alone, when their mother die in a drunken fit right in front of their eyes.

Rising Action

  • After the funeral, John and Kate was taken separately by two villagers while nobody wants to take care of the sick Maggie; until Mr. Thompson.

Climax

  • Mr. Thompson arrives at his house carrying Maggie but his wife doesn’t like it and wants the child to be sent to the poorhouse.

Falling Action

  • Mr. Thompson finds her wife talking to Maggie. After their supper talks to Maggie and then later on Mrs. Thompson arrives with the child’s food. Mrs. Thompson decided to let Maggie stay within two days before sending the child to the poorhouse.

Resolution

  • After how many days, Mr. Thompson didn’t see the Guardian’s of the Poor and never saw them. Decides to let Maggie stay and live with them at their house.

CHARACTERS

  • Maggie
  • John
  • Kate
  • Mr. Thompson
  • Mrs. Thompson
  • Farmer Jones
  • Mrs. Ellis

SETTING

  • No particular name of the place
  • Village

SOCIAL CONTEXT

  • In a village where people aren’t very wealthy

ATMOSPHERE

  • It’s a dark and gloomy place (based on the description)

Tone

  • Melancholic to Joyful

Mood

  • Pitiful, Hopeful

Symbolism

  •  Hovel – poor
  • Poorhouse – represents the sick and helpless children

Imagery – Visual Imagery

Theme – Compassion is the primary theme of the short story.

  • Compassion

VOCABULARY

  • Idleness- the state of being indolence; laziness
  • Temperance- Moderation of passion; patience; calmness
  • Scoffed- to jeer; laugh at with contempt and derision
  • Poorhouse- a charitable institution where poor or homeless people are lodged
  • Saintly- like a characteristic of a saint
  • Mended- to repair
  • Shrink- to become smaller
  • Apt- suitable, appropriate; fit
  • Errand- a trip to accomplish a small mission or to do some business
  • Countenance – Appearance, esp. The feature and expression of the face