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MLA
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Literature & Language
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Prose to Prose: American Literature before the Civil War (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
Prose to Prose: Examine any of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories alongside either “The Premature Burial” or “The Masque of the Red Death.” Explain how the two literary pieces are similar and/or different and how they suggest the author's overall literary style. Use specific details from each work. The paper should be 1,000 to 1,500 words and show the proper use of quotations and citations. You may decide to limit your focus to such aspects as character, plot, setting, symbolism, conflict, point of view, or theme. Please use the attached course material for direct quotes from “Premature Death” or “The Masque of the Red Death.” Reference: Poe, Edgar. “The Masque of the Red Death.” American Literature before the Civil War. Eds. George Perkins and Barbara Perkins. McGraw Hill, 2011. 319-323. Web. or Poe, Edgar. “The Premature Burial.” American Literature before the Civil War. Eds. George Perkins and Barbara Perkins. McGraw Hill, 2011. 309-318. Web. In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, double space: William T. McGhee Professor Brescia LITR220 American Literature before the Civil War 26 May 2013 source..
Content:
William T. McGhee
Professor Brescia
LITR220 American Literature before the Civil War
26 May 2013
Comparison of Edgar Allan Poe`s 2 Short Stories
I am going to compare and contrast two of Edgar Allan Poe`s 2 short stories namely: The Masque of Red Death and The Fall of the House of Usher. As most of Poe`s works, these two are works that continuously explore the subject of death and the literary expressions and techniques that would be able to articulate the subject of the bizarre and the creepy. Edgar Allan Poe has already achieved worldwide renown as one who cultivated the theme of the macabre and the mysterious. He is also well known for his use of reason in concert with strong emotions that would accentuate his poetry and stories. His explorations in the area of psychology, madness, mystery, and death gave the world unparalleled contributions in literature. In the stories of The Masque of Red Death and The Fall of the House of Usher we can find similar techniques by the author which would eventually make him one of the giants in world literature.
The Narrator
Both stories use an unnamed narrator who seemed to have experienced firsthand the story that he is about to tell. In The Fall of the House of Usher, the narrator introduces himself as a friend of Roderick Usher who is the main character of the story. In The Masque of Red Death, the narrator does not even introduce himself. Yet both narrators have full control of words that would tell of the tragedy that was to come. In the end, the narrator in The Fall was able to run away from the scene while the narrator in The Masque simply became a storyteller that would affirm the inevitability of death.
The Theme of Death
Edgar Allan Poe explores the subject of death in most of his works. In The Masque, death is presented as common and inevitable to everyone while in the The Fall, death is a result of madness. The Masque presents death as pestilence where the characters seem to ironically escape death continuing their merrymaking in a palace that seems to float above the reality where many were dying of the disease. The leader of the party is even ironically called Prince Prospero who will eventually succumb to the disease in the end. In The Fall, death is a result of a terrible madness that would be characterized by Roderick Usher. He would eventually bury his sister alive and be overcome by madness and eventual death in the end. Although both stories have their central themes on death and that there are tragic in both, The Fall talks about a death that is unnatural as it was caused by madness. Thus the evil of death come in the form of a demented human being. In The Masque, the evil of death comes from a pestilence that would kill so many people all at once. Both kinds of death are evil and horrible and Poe presents varying psychological dimensions and emotions associated with different kinds of dying.
The Setting
In both stories, the settings are immediately om...
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