Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Edgar Allen Poe--Person Vs. Fate

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Forever will you be traumatized, as the ominous images of a gruesome midnight slaughter seep into every little wrinkle of your brain; the agonizing voice of a talking raven enters through your ears and clenches onto your heart. Oh, don’t feel lonesome…Edgar Allan Poe had once felt this way before, while the pen was still in his grip, writing “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”. Poe had had a twisted childhood. He was orphaned at a very young age, and later sent to live with the Allen family, which was certainly not the most hospitable place to be. Mr. Allen and Poe had a corrupted relationship, and soon, Poe was disowned by the Allen’s to live on his own. His twisted childhood memories and his impoverished lifestyle as an adult was what inspired his collection of disturbing, painful literature. The voices behind “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven” may have some very distinct differences, but looking deep into both pieces, his poignant experiences of love and death are revealed.

“The Raven” is a well-known poem about a person’s grief after the death of Lenore, the love of his life. The poem sets place in a Victorian-style library, where the speaker sits alone with the comfort of a book, struggling to distract himself from the heartaches over the “lost Lenore”. During the presence of Lenore, he was provided with happiness and company, and he could have none of these feelings from any other being. He depended on Lenore, and now that she was gone, he had no interest in the events of the outside world. For days, he had been hearing thumps on his door, but made no effort to find out who had been looking for him. Finally, in hopes that it was Lenore coming back for him, he opened up his windows, only to find that it was a large, spooky raven. He was astonished at first, by the fact that the raven could speak, as it repetitively said, “Nevermore”. However, the raven’s words soon began to bring hopelessness to him over Lenore, and his feelings toward it changed from amusement to frustration.

“The Tell-Tale Heart” is a short story about a caretaker’s obsessive fear over an old man’s cataract, or “the vulture’s eye”. Although the caretaker has no real grudge over the old man in person, he cannot control the anguish that swells up inside of him when his own eye catches the old man’s. And so, desperate to get rid of his pain, he made the decision to take the life of the old man. His plan was scrupulous, and by the eighth attempt he reached success. After suffocating the old man to death by pushing his bed over him, this ruthless murderer chopped the dead body into pieces in the bathtub, and hid them carefully in the floors. When a group of policemen entered the old man’s house for inspection, they could find no evidence that “he” was to blame. However, guilt finally caught up with him, the beating of his heart, or perhaps voices from heaven and hell led him to admit his actions. Throughout the entire story, the narrator denies insanity, but clearly his mind is disturbed.


The narrators of both texts speak in dark, gloomy tones. Their feelings of depression and animosity have come from their obsessions over events that they have absolutely no control over. Thus, the conflicts that are experienced by both narrators would fall into the “person vs. fate” category. On top of their negativity, they are tormented by the evil. The narrator from the “Tell-Tale Heart” has voices from both heaven and hell pushing him towards his actions, and the narrator from “The Raven” fell into even deeper despair after his encounter with the raven. Their use of figurative language, including disturbing details about their feelings and inner thoughts show exactly how heartbroken or insane they are over what has happened in their lives. They both cannot face reality, whether it was the death of a loved one, or the psychoses that has taken over them.

“The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” were perhaps Edgar Allan Poe’s two most heartbreaking stories. If readers make the effort to analyze both texts, then they will gain a clearer understanding of Poe’s painful lifetime experiences. Sure, Poe may not have exactly “chopped up his body parts” or “spoke to the talking raven”, but his eerie descriptions and commentaries are unforgettable in any readers’ minds.




Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback