Essay about The Single Emotional "Poeffect"

993 Words Oct 19th, 1999 4 Pages
When reviewing Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tales, Edgar Allen Poe pronounced that the short story, if skillfully written, should deliver a single preconceived effect- an effect upon which incidents be fashioned to accommodate that effect. Edgar Allen Poe was indeed a skillful writer. His short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a flawless example of a story in which all elements contribute to the delivery of a single emotional effect. Poe accomplishes this by achieving a perfect tone, developing suspense and unifying stylistic elements thereby meeting his own criteria. <br><br>In his pronouncement Poe also wrote that "In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one …show more content…
The reserved creation of imagery in these scenes is invaluable to the clarity and emphasis of the tone-a tone vital to the delivery of the single emotional effect of terror. <br><br>Along with devising a perfect tone, Edgar Allen Poe builds a high degree of suspense in order to bring about his desired effect. Poe is able to skillfully structure long involved sentences that contain several ideas to fit his purpose of creating confusion and mystery. The expression of the narrator's "feeling of wild amazement" and his claim that he "did actually hear a low and apparently distant, but harsh, protracted and most unusual screaming or grating sound" exemplifies the mix of thought and numerous descriptions that all appear in one sentence. This technique draws the reader into a state of ponder as he tries to make sense of a somewhat overwhelming group of ideas. The intentional absence of detail, imagery and explanation of certain factors in the story, such as how, exactly, Madeline dies and the nature of her malady, serves function to arouse a great deal of curiosity in the reader as to the answer of these questions. The vagueness of such events result in a high level of suspicion felt by the reader. In preparation for the single emotional effect, Poe sets up his audience through suspense in order to ensure the effect is successfully delivered in a most powerful manner. This is accomplished through the rising level of anticipation he breeds in the reader with the anticipation

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