Poe's Recurring Themes, Symbols, and Motifs

Poe's Recurring Themes, Symbols, and Motifs

Poes Recurring Themes, Symbols, and Motifs Eyes One of his most common motifs. Can be referred to as orb Eyes considered to be window to the soul Heart Heart is important as both the physical pump of the body & as center of all feeling and experience As Romantic (literary movement) Poe places greater emphasis on the HEART (representing emotion and experience) than on HEAD (representing intellect, rational thought, and scientific reasoning) ? Unnamed Narrator Unnamed narrator frequently tells stories (narrator not meant to represent Poe) Lack of specific identity gives him an EVERYMAN quality Premature Burial/Suffocation 2 concepts linkedLife-in-death theme the idea of being enclosed with the dead while still part of the living Vortex Image and action of a spinning, swirling whirlpool that cycles like water down a drain Ex. When a character is walking down a spiral or circular staircase, or being swallowed up by an angry, swirling sea R. I. P.

Poes Recurring Themes, Symbols, and Motifs Dreams/Dreaming Dreams are the porthole into the inner workings of the mind Poes narrators and characters often talk about the subconscious dream state (Do they dream to remember or dream to forget?) They may awaken from dreams and question whether they are awake or not They may even seem to exist in an eternal dream-like state Rarely are dreams soothing or pleasant Two Sides of Oneself Duality of man (man is both good and evil, light and dark can be contained in same person) Mirror Image (the double or look-alike stranger) Twin characters (separate yet inseparable) Dopplegangerthe motif of the double or fractured image fairly common to literature Time/Clocks Many of his stories are set in ambiguous times and places, making them universal and contemporary to the reader of any era Poe frequently uses HOURS and times of day (especially 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00) Uses direct and subtle references to TIME or CLOCKS Events often begin at dusk and end with daybreak The witching hour of 12 midnight Animals Repetition of certain types of charactersblack cats, black ravens, and apesorangutans or ourang-outangs Narrator may lead the reader into thinking such an animal is innately evil or has magical powersreader has to determine based on behavior of the animal whether this is true or if narrator is just projecting his own beliefs onto the animal.

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