Dimovitz, Scott A. & Swanson, Eleanor L.
Regis College Senior Honors Program
Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
Since an individual isn't likely to be swallowed by a whirlpool and magically spat back out, Poe's attempts at living in a death- in-life world are made through his writing. He uses art as a way to become close to the divine, while still living in this world. For Poe, as for any writer, writing is the way to explore the world and come to an understanding of it. A story, which could be so carefully melded together, each word and sentence a carefully chosen part of the whole, all adding up to one ultimate goal, was Poe's example of unity in life. Art in the form of poetry or tales could approximate the unity felt in death because every part contributed towards one overarching message of the work. There are no individual pieces of one of Poe's tales; rather every word contributes to the overall effect, just as in death, every soul contributes to the overall idea of the Godhead. Similarly, an understanding of Poe's work surrounding death leads to an overall idea of life and death as a shared and simultaneously felt force. For Poe, people must live both in life and death, and his work suggests this in its very nature, by forcing its readers to become involved in thought about what it means to really die, and how we should approach this ultimate unity while still alive. 90
Date of Award
© Jenni Shearston
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Shearston, Jenni A., "Living in the Mystery: Myriad Approaches to Death in Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Terror" (2011). Student Publications. 550.