?? covers a period of approximately eight
days with most of the important action occurring each night around
midnight. The location is the home of an elderly man in which the
narrator has become a caretaker.
This story contains a nameless narrator, an old man and the
police who enter near the end of the story after the mention, that
they were called by a neighbor whose suspicions had been aroused
upon hearing a scream in the night. The protagonist or narrator
becomes the true focus of the tale. This narrator may be male or
female because Poe uses only "I" and "me" in reference to this
character. Most readers assume that the narrator is a male because
of a male author using a first person point of view; however, this
story can also be plausible when the deranged protagonist appears
as a woman. Most critics would argue this point by saying that Poe
would "assume" that the reader would "know" that the protagonist
was male, therefore, he would see no need to identify his sexless
narrator. However, Poe was a perfectionist who left very little to
guesswork. Could it be that this was no accident or something that
he thought would be universally understood, but that Poe was
creating a story whose impact could be changed simply by
imagining this horrendous and vile deed being committed by a
Poe writes this story from the perspective of the murderer of the
old man. When an author creates a situation where the protagonist
tells a personal account, the overall impact of the story is
heightened. The narrator, in this particular story, adds to the overall
effect of horror by continually stressing to the reader that he or she
is not mad, and tries to convince us of that fact by how carefully
this brutal crime was planned and executed.
Poe's story is a case of domestic violence that occurs as the
result of an irrational fear. To the narrator that fear is represented
by the old man's eye. Through the narrator, Poe describes this eye
as being pale blue with a film over it, and resembling that of a
vulture. Does the narrator have any reason to fear the old man or his
eye? Is it this phobia that evokes the dark side, and eventually
drives the narrator to madness? Or could Poe be referring to a belief
whose origins could be traced back to Greece and Rome?
In ?A New England Nun?, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman depicts the life of the classic New England spinster. The image of a spinster is of an old maid; a woman never married waiting for a man. The woman waiting to be married is restricted in her life. She does chores and receives education to make her more desirable as a wife. This lead...
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