The Theory of Composition applied to his short story Assignment

The Theory of Composition applied to his short story  Assignment Words: 3234

I say to myself, in the iris place, “Of the innumerable effects, or impressions, of which the heart, the intellect, or (more generally) the soul Is susceptible, what one shall I select? ” Having chosen a novel, first, and secondly a Blvd effect, I consider whether It can best be wrought by Incident or tone afterward looking about me (or rather wealth) for such combinations of event, or tone, as shall best lad me In the construction of the With this citation Edgar Allan Poe himself describes in his essay The Philosophy of Composition (New York: Cosmic, Inc. 2009) how important an effect is for creating a worth story and that an author should rather construct a piece of fiction than to write it spontaneously without a plan. This received term paper will give a short overview about Edgar Allan Pope’s Philosophy of composition and than applies it to one of his short stories The Masque of the Red Death (Ontario: Dover Publications, 1991). A special focus will be set on Pope’s unity of effect. 2 Edgar Allan Pope’s The Philosophy of Composition In his essay The Philosophy of Composition Poe analyzes in what manner a short story or a poem should be written to excite the reader.

The most important principles Poe mentions are the length of the short story or poem and the method of writing which both lead to creating the “unity of effect” (Poe, 2009:291). In Pope’s opinion a short story should be brief enough to be read in one sitting (Poe, 2009:290). Otherwise the “unity of impression” (Poe, 2009:290) would be destroyed if the reader takes two or more sessions to finish the story. As for the methods of writing Poe suggests that writing is no progress which includes spontaneity or ecstasy but something that should be composed in detail (Poe, 2009:289).

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The decision on how the story is going to end, the “dmonument” (Poe, 2009:287), and what emotional response from the reader the author desires are the most important steps when beginning to write a piece of fiction (Poe, 2009:287). Every single detail in a short story, from the setting and the tone to the choice of words, should aim to create the unity of effect. This unity is already initiated by the length of the story and by the method with which it is written.

After the author decided on the ending of the story and what effect it should have on the reader, all matters pertaining to the imposition of this work should support creating the unity of effect (Poe, 2009:288). 3 The Philosophy of Composition applied to Pope’s short story The Masque of the Firstly, The Masque of the Red Death is short enough to be read in one sitting and therefore fulfills the criteria of length Poe mentioned in The Philosophy of Composition. The shortness of the story is the first element that contributes to the attempt of creating a single effect.

Secondly, to show if the method of writing – as the second element supporting the single effect- has been applied concisely by Poe onto his own short story The Masque of the Red Death, there has to be a closer look on the usage of words and the symbols he creates to see if those work expressively towards the dmonument. 3. 1 The setting in The Masque of the Red Death – a closed environment Pope’s short story The Masque of the Red Death is set in one of Prince Prosperous “castellated abbeys” (Poe, 1991:105). Poe tells the reader nothing about the exact location or the country this abbey is situated in.

Even though the disease the Red Death rages outside the abbey’s walls, Prince Prosper invites “a thousand hale and light-hearted Travels” (Poe, III 105) too masked Dally Insane Nils secure added. I Nils added Is a place of confinement described as being surrounded by a massive wall with iron gates. After the guests arrived inside the abbey the iron gates are being welded (Poe, 1991:105). This precautionary measure of sealing in themselves as a means of protection creates both a hideout from the Red Death and a prison as none of the masqueraders could get escape from the abbey if they wanted to.

The masked ball’s participants and the Duke himself Just care about themselves and try to exclude the Red Death from their festivities (G;enter, 1974:1 53), or as Poe describes: The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death. ” (Poe, 1991:106). This contrast of the gaiety within and the ravaging Red Death outside contributes to the effect Poe wants to create.

The abbey is an isolated district which is filled with life amid an environment ruled by the Red Death (G;enter, 1974:153). The knowledge of the death outside lets the carefree cheerfulness of the masked ball’s participants look unnatural. These differences increase into the most extreme form until the climax of the story at midnight (G;enter, 1974:154). This increment of the difference between the outside and the inside as a closed environment is one factor that contributes to the unity of effect Poe wants to create. 3. The representation of time in The Masque of the Red Death In the opening sentence Poe first names the passage of time when the narrator tells us that the disease “the Red Death had long devastated the country’ (Poe, 1991:105). This statement shows the reader right from the beginning that the Red Death is superior. The second reminder of time is the narrator’s short overview about the duration of the Prince’s hiding from the Red Death (Poe, 1991:106). This reminder gives the reader an idea of when in the context the told story takes part.

However, the third reminder of the passage of time, the ebony clock situated in the seventh room, is the most important representation of time in the whole story. Every time the chimes of the clock strike “the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance and there was a brief disconcert of the whole ay company’ (Poe, 1991 :108) After the chimes of the clock die away ” the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever” (Poe, 1991:109).

Apparently the clock as a symbol of time controls the participants’ moods. This spectacle of happiness, disconcert, and happiness repeats itself every hour. Poe reminds the reader that between the striking of each hour, there elapses “three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies” (Poe, 1991:108). This shows the reader and vice versa the masqueraders how fast the time goes by and videlicet the brevity of life and the earners of death. Accordingly, the chiming of the clock represents memento moor (Siva, 2001 :156).

This alternation of celebrating and memento moor proceeds with every hour until the clock strikes twelve midnight. Now the climax of the story is attained as the participants become aware of a masked figure, the Red Death (Poe, In the last part of the short story a unity is created as “the life of the MM 10). Ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay’ (Poe, 1991 :113). With the reminders of the passage of time and the hourly chiming of the clock the reader is instantly being made aware of the momentarily measure of time and the unity of erect Is created 3. The representation of death in The Masque of the Red Death “THE “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men.

And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour” (Poe, 1991 :105) In this first paragraph Poe uses expressions like death, devastated, pestilence, fatal, hideous, horror, blood, sharp pains, profuse bleeding, scarlet stains, victim, and disease to describe the Red Death and its consequences. The usage of these exact words creates an immediate effect on the reader; consequently, the effect of the horror of death. As Poe advised in his The Philosophy of Composition (Poe, 2009:288) the tone of the short story is set right in the opening paragraph.

The last sentence of the opening paragraph describes how fast the Red Death kills. It is obvious that no disease kills that fast but this hint is more likely to be seen as a reminder of man’s mortality – memento moor- (Petition, 1981 :114). The participants of the masked ball are so bizarre themselves (Poe, 1991 :109) that the presence of an unknown mummer dressed as a victim of the Red Death only claims the attention of the crowds as the clock strikes midnight (Poe, 1991 :110).

Poe expressly worked towards this moment as he had built up the arc of suspense with the hourly chimes f the ebony clock and the resulting memento moor of the masqueraders. Midnight is the end of the day and as a consequence with the appearance of the Red Death the end of life. After almost everyone of the participants is aware of who the new guest is, their emotions move over from disapprobation and disgust to terror, horror, and disgust (Siva, 2001 :157). Prince Prosper spots the masked figure and calls for his courtiers to overpower the intruder, but everyone is frozen with the “deadly terror that had seized upon all” (Poe, 1991 :113).

The masked intruder is “shrouded from dead to foot in the habiliments of the grave and all the features of the face were bespangled with the scarlet horror” (Poe, 1991 :1 11). With this choice of words Poe triggers man’s universal fear of death and its horrors. The intruder’s appearance and especially the expression “scarlet horror” (Poe, 1991 :1 1 1) indicates the he is the Red Death himself. Now the Red Death is not excluded from the Prince’s abbey anymore but found its way inside and is one of the masked ball’s participants.

Consequently, the reader has the same emotions the masqueraders have as they notice who the masked figure is. With the usage of word related to terror and horror from the opening paragraph on and with the hourly chimes of the clock Poe created a suspense and the effect of horror. However, when the masked ball’s participants want to unmask the intruder whose mask shows the image of a corpse that has recently been stricken by the plague, there is no hint of what lies under the mask (Poe, 2001:223). This fact encourages the fear of the unknown when it comes to death.

This fear causes humanity’s ignorance of death. The participants’ ignorance of n Tolstoy result TTS Trot tenet Electronics Walt n ten people won are outs awe ten castle and who actually suffer from the Red Death and secondly from the lack of human knowledge about death. The last paragraph of the story shows how Poe, like the Red Death, has insidiously made his way into Prince Prosperous abbey ergo the reader’s minds: “And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night.

And one by one dropped the revelers in the blood- bedded halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all” (Poe, 1991: 113). The paragraph’s clauses all commence with ‘and’ and therefore remind the reader of the clock’s chiming (Frank/Magistrate, 1997:223). It shows that although the masqueraders tried to ignore death, it did not save them from death.

Without overtly making his point, Pope’s effect of horror and fear is achieved. Man cannot defeat death because it has “illimitable dominion over all” (Siva, 2001 :150). The short story’s unity of effect is achieved from the first to the last sentence and the effect of horror and ear Poe wanted to create arises out of the realization that in the end death conquers all even if there is an attempt to shut him out. 3. 4 The seven rooms, their different colors, and their meaning There are seven rooms to be found in Prince Prosperous castle.

These rooms are “so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time” (Poe, 1991:106). In every chamber in the middle of the walls there is a Gothic window facing towards the corridor and not the outside, as windows would normally do. The windows and the rooms’ decoration resemble the different colors of the rooms (Poe, 1991:106). The apartments’ colors vary from blue, purple, green, and orange to white, violet, and black. There is no source of light in any of the rooms but one big tripod is situated in the corridor towards any of the : 107).

The fact that the windows face the inside rather than the outside and consequently, there have to be tripods illuminating the rooms, shows that the Prince wants to shut out the external world completely (Petition, 1981 :117). Another special quality of the rooms is that they are compiled from the blue most eastern one to the black most western one (Poe, 991:107). Poe puts weight on the rooms and therefore on their meanings because he spends more time to describe them in detail than to describe the masked ball itself.

The colors and the order of presentation from East to West have to be significant as Poe wrote in The Philosophy of Composition that when one writes about something there should be “no one point in its composition referable either to accident or intuition -?? that the work proceeded, step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem” (Poe, 2009:290). Consequently, the order and the colors of the rooms are clearly intended to create a specific effect in the short story. The East to West arrangement of the seven rooms e. G. Parallels the course of the sun, and thus the circle of life (Petition, 1981 :116). To find out what the colors of the rooms indicate there has to be paid special attention to the seventh room, the black and most western chamber in Prince Prosperous castle. I Nils room slantingly Titters Trot ten toner apartments Accordingly, the tapestries of the room do not match its color but are black velvet and nag shrouded all over the room (Poe, 1991:107). Pope’s use of the word shrouded has a special meaning as this word always refers to death and reminds the reader of a coffin (Siva, 2001 :155).

Another dissimilarity to the other rooms is the fact that the windows do not match the room’s color black but are tinted in “scarlet – a deep blood color” (Poe, 1991:107). This scarlet tone “a deep blood color” (Poe, 1991 :107) is an allusion to the Red Death. A further difference to the other chambers is the ebony clock which is situated in the black room (Poe, 1991 :108) and which has already been issued in 3. 2. Those three factors are obvious indications to death in general, the Red Death especially, and time. One cannot say which of these factors causes the most fear.

Regardless, the effect of fear Poe wanted to create is achieved and maintained. The closer midnight and therefore the climax of the short story gets, the more the black room representing death with the clock as a reminder of time is being avoided by the masked ball’s participants (Siva, 2001 :156). The blue most eastern room can be seen as a counterpart to the black most western room. The untreated to death is life as could be indicated firstly, by the location of the room which is the East where the course of the sun and accordingly, the course of life begins with birth.

Secondly, the color blue represents the dawning of human life in color symbolism (Petition, 1981 :116). According to color symbolism the other rooms and their colors can be interpreted as follows: purple representing the quickening of life or the toddler years, green as the youth, orange being the adulthood, white the old age ,and violet embodying the second childhood (Pitchman, 1981 :116). When Prince Prosper first spots the unwelcome guest at midnight in the blue chamber, he follows him through all the rooms until he and the Red Death are in the black room and Prosper suddenly dies (Poe, 1991 :113).

The Prince’s rotation from East to West symbolizes the passing through all stages of life from birth to death (Carlson, 1996:157). The effect of fear is supported especially by the seventh chamber as it represents death and is avoided by the masked ball’s participants. Through the East to West arrangement and the Prince’s progression through these rooms the unity of effect is fulfilled. The short story The Masque of the Red Death written by Edgar Allan Poe is composed like he himself suggests in his essay The Philosophy of Composition and therefore creates a unity of effect.

First of all, the story is short enough to be read in one sitting which contributes to the unity of impression and the unity of effect is not interrupted by the need of a second session. Secondly, Poe does not tell the reader the exact time and location of where the story takes place or spends any time on character development as the only characters in the story are the Duke, the Red Death, and unnamed masqueraders. These omissions contribute to the development of a unity of effect, as they do not distract from it.

Thirdly, the introduction paragraph with it’s description about the Red Death’s consequences sets the tone for the whole story and immediately creates the effect of horror through the choice of words. The effect of horror and the fear of death is supported by the hourly chime of the clock and the resulting memento moral until ten climax AT ten story wanly Is at mainland anon accompanied by twelve chimes. Fourthly, the closed environment in the abbey with its seven rooms create a unity. The seventh chamber with its scarlet windows is another reminder of death and supports the effect of horror and fear, too.

Lastly, the last paragraph takes up the theme presented in the opening paragraph and shows that death in inevitable no matter how hard mankind tries to shut him out. The interaction between the beginning and the ending of the short story creates a unity of effect as it composes an effect of horror and fear which is constantly supported throughout the whole story by the chimes of the clock, Red Death himself, and by the seven rooms, especially by the black room. Therefore Poe managed to create a short story which carries a unity of effect through the whole plot.

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