Edgar Allan Poe and His Use of Literary Devices

Literary devices are a major part of writing. A good author will use literary devices to bring the reader into what they are reading. When an author does this, the reader begins to feel and think as the characters feel and think. This is what Poe does to a reader when he whites a story. Poe’s use of anadiplosis, bomphiologia, chronographia, enargia and other literary devices helps the reader to embrace the characters.
Poe uses a good amount of anadiplosis. This is when the last word or words in a sentence is used as the first word or words in the next sentence. To understand this, you do not have to look far into hi writing. Some examples of this can be found in “The Pit and the Pendulum” when Poe writes “…That I could not force my Imagination to regard as unreal. Unreal-Even while I breathed…” (The Pit and the Pendulum, NP). “For the moment at last, I was free. Free and in the grasp of the inquisition…” (The Pit and the Pendulum, NP).

Poe also uses a device known as bomphiliogia. Bomphiliogia is bombastic, pompous speech such as “Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound-the tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then again sound, and motion, and touch…” (The Pit and the Pendulum, NP). He especially uses it in “The Pit and the Pendulum”, although it he uses it throughout his work.

Enargia is another literary device used by Poe. Enargia is a vivid description of something. A person can see that he uses it throughout his work, but he uses it most often in his creative short stories. The way he describes the torture chamber in “The Pit and the Pendulum” is a good example of energia. He does this when he writes “I now observed-with what horror it is needless to say-that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a food in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor...appended to a weighty rod of brass…” (The Pit and the Pendulum)
This helps the reader to feel as though they too are in the torture chamber. Many of his poems also show use of it.
Another device he uses is chronographia. This is a type of enargia. He does this when he talks about time using a very drawn on approach. “Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made a circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock…a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour…” (The Masque of the Red Death, NP).
Poe also uses a kind of soraismus in his writing. Soraismus is “the mingling of languages either through ignorance or a desire to show off” (Zimmerman, NP). He uses this in “The Gold Bug”. In this he writes, “No, dat he aint!-he aint find nowhar-dat’s just whar de shoe pinch-my mind is got to be berry hebby bout poor Massa Will.” (The Gold Bug, NP). He uses this because it give the reader a sense of how the character talks. Poe writes “
Poe also uses Chaismos to spice up his writing. He does this by saying one thing in one sentence, then saying the same thing flipped around in the next sentence. An example of this is
“When the boy kicked the ball, he fell”. The next sentence would say something like “the boy fell when he kicked the ball”.

Symbolism is also a great part of Poe’s writing. He masters it in his every work. In “The Pit and the Pendulum”, the whole story symbolizes the dark and rough time in the torture chambers. In “The Black Cat”, the cat symbolizes a kind a hatred that people keep bottled up. INJ the story His hatred toward the cat grows and he finally turns to drastic measures. In “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the beating heart represents a person’s conscience after they have done a terrible deed. “I felt that I must scream or die! and now-again!-hark! louder! louder! louder! Louder!” (The Tell-Tale Heart, NP) is an example of the beating heart.
One of the other literary devices that Poe uses is personification. Personification is used to give a lifelike description of an object. Personification is on e of the literary devices that bring his writings to life. For instance, “…weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed as it swung through the air.” (The Pit and the Pendulum, NP) is one example. Another example is “In the centre yawned the circular pit from which jaws I had escaped; but it was the only one in the dungeon”. In “The Lake: To-“Poe uses some personification to personify the night. For example, “Of a wild lake, with black rock bound, And the tall pines that towered around. But when the Night had thrown her pall Upon that spot, as upon all,” (The Lake: To-, NP). Another example in the same poem is,”Death is a poisonous wave”.
“For instance, up to now I have counted twenty-three types of devices of balance, including antanagoge, three kinds of doublets (antithetic, pleonastic and range), triplets (and other kinds of seriation), antimetabole, inclusio, and palindrome… I have also catalogued nearly two dozen devices of description, from anemographia to triplets adjectival and adverbial, and conclude that Poe is a highly descriptive writer… Additionally, I have enumerated three dozen types of emotional appeal and other devices of vehemence--no surprise to those well acquainted with the prose and poetry of the passionate and histrionic Poe (Zimmerman, NP)”.
Anadiplosis, bomphiologia, chronographia and enargia greatly influence Poe’s writing style. Using these and many other types of literary help bring his writing to life. He uses this and his imagination to create high quality work. The way Poe uses them to recreate the stories inthe readers mind makes him a very popular writer in American literature. Scholars continue to study his work and his use of literary devices.

Join the Discussion

This article has 35 comments. Post your own now!

Lily said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm
u spelled right wrong in the third line
pmkenzie replied...
Feb. 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm

And so did you. :P


SpringRayyn said...
Dec. 27, 2010 at 10:15 am
I would have never known any of those literary devices except personification. I might have used them without knowing what they were called, but now I do know. Nice work!
sally sunshine said...
Dec. 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm
very good and well written
Julz101 said...
Dec. 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Our school just did a whole bunch of things on Poe. This is great!
JessAryn said...
Nov. 13, 2010 at 8:38 am
This was a very very good article! I absolutely LOVE Edgar Allan Poe. I did notice alot of simple spelling and grammar mistakes in this article though. just saying....
Zoe R. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm
it's a lot, not "alot"...
TheTheaterChick said...
Nov. 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm
VERY well written. Helped me alot.
samyo6 said...
Aug. 17, 2010 at 11:31 pm
Amazing job. I was taking notes :P
Macx14 said...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm
Loaded with good, strong facts and sensible opinion. Good job!
KillerButterfly said...
May 21, 2010 at 11:08 am
very well written! I love it. :)
<3E.A.Poe<3 said...
May 6, 2010 at 11:16 am
Love this.
neimyne This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm
Very informative! I will certainly look back to this as a reference.
niza carl said...
Dec. 14, 2009 at 9:51 pm
thank alot..helps me in my assignment
superkid48 said...
Nov. 12, 2009 at 11:59 am
This is a very good article on Edger's use of literary devices. A lot of information. Nice job.
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