Reflection Of Writing In Poe's The Philosophy Of Poe

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Toward the end of his life, Poe authored a work called “The Philosophy of Composition” in which he gives readers a behind the scene look into the creative process of poetry and prose. This piece is especially beneficial because it adds another tool that can be used in the analysis of other author’s work. It is commonly known that Poe had a very high opinion of Hawthorne’s work. “The Philosophy of Composition” gives valuable insight as to why Poe thought so highly of him. Using Poe’s work to analyze “The Birth-mark,” it becomes clear that Poe and Hawthorne were of the same mind on the subject of good writing. Their similarities are especially evident when comparing the length, tone, setting, and theme of their works. In “The Philosophy of …show more content…
Poe preferred to contrast beauty against melancholy caused by the loss of that beauty (Poe 722). Hawthorne did something very similar; he set Georgianna’s beauty against a foreboding tone. Early on this is establish by the line, “Aylmer 's sombre imagination was not long in rendering the birthmark a frightful object, causing him more trouble and horror than ever Georgiana 's beauty, whether of soul or sense, had given him delight” (Hawthorne 420). It is clear that something unfortunate is going to happen to Georgianna, which causes anxiety in the reader, rather than a sadness. The effect that the fear of loss causes, in this case, is more powerful than melancholy’s potential …show more content…
Poe’s main concern with theme is that it should be “universally appreciable” (722). One of the main themes in “The Birth-mark” is of the mortality and imperfections in humanity. Mortality is the theme common to all men, so he could not have chosen a more “universally appreciable” theme. Another theme is the folly of overreaching science. While this theme may not appeal to a culture without scientific advancements, it was a concern shared by many people of that time and

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