LIT115: Survey of Literature Week Five, "Edgar Allan Poe"
Read, View, Listen and Take Notes
You will VIEW and READ various works by American writer Edgar Allen Poe, Most people recognize Poe by his famous poem "The Raven" and his more popular dark and creepy tales like "The Tell-tale Heart." Poe wrote quite a few Gothic stories about murder, revenge and insanity. Many modern books and movies have "borrowed" ideas from Poe. Some of Poe's stories were not well accepted in his day because people were just not ready for them- they were too scary. Poe remains generally popular, if not lauded in academia, for both his short stories and his poetry. Both are featured in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” his most famous short story (the poem is buried inside it). You have been given two masterpieces to study in full. Also provided below are your notes, assignments. and a form to upload your responses. Continue to study for your final exam. APPLY your previous lessons for this course dealing with bias, stereotype, and propaganda.
Literary Devices - Study and Use
I. Never Bet the Devil Your Head - READ
ASSIGNMENT: Jot down your thoughts on this very short story. What went wrong? What is the moral? What literary Devices does Poe use? You will share these thought on your form so keep track of your notes.
II. The Fall of the House of Usher - READ
II. The Fall of the House of Usher - READ
FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER - VOCABULARY - STUDY AND USE
- tract an extended area of land EXAMPLE SENTENCE: DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.
- insufferable used of persons or their behavior EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I know not how it was-but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.
- pervade spread or diffuse through EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I know not how it was-but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.
- utter complete EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil.
- lapse a failure to maintain a higher state EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil.
- goad goad or provoke,as by constant criticism EXAMPLE SENTENCE: There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.
- sublime inspiring awe EXAMPLE SENTENCE: There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.
- insoluble admitting of no solution or explanation EXAMPLE SENTENCE: What was it--I paused to think--what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher ? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered.
- grapple come to terms with EXAMPLE SENTENCE: What was it--I paused to think--what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher ? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered.
- annihilate kill in large numbers NOTES: Annihilate in this sentence is referring to the numerous details presented in the setting which lend the sense of doom and despair. The narrator is saying he could not get rid of all of those details. EXAMPLE SENTENCE: It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression;
- precipitous extremely steep EXAMPLE SENTENCE: and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down--but with a shudder even more thrilling than before--upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
- sojourn a temporary stay (e.g., as a guest) EXAMPLE SENTENCE: Nevertheless, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a sojourn of some weeks.
- importunate expressing earnest entreaty EXAMPLE SENTENCE: A letter, however, had lately reached me in a distant part of the country--a letter from him--which, in its wildly importunate nature, had admitted of no other than a personal reply.
- acute having or experiencing a rapid onset and short but severe course EXAMPLE SENTENCE: The writer spoke of acute bodily illness--of a mental disorder which oppressed him--and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady.
- malady impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism EXAMPLE SENTENCE: The writer spoke of acute bodily illness--of a mental disorder which oppressed him--and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady.
- manifest reveal its presence or make an appearance EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and manifested, of late, in repeated deeds of munificent yet unobtrusive charity, as well as in a passionate devotion to the intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily recognisable beauties, of musical science.
- munificent very generous EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and manifested, of late, in repeated deeds of munificent yet unobtrusive charity, as well as in a passionate devotion to the intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily recognisable beauties, of musical science.
- trifling not worth considering EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain.
- paradoxical seemingly contradictory but nonetheless possibly true EXAMPLE SENTENCE: Such, I have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis.
- affinity inherent resemblance between persons or things EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity--an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn--a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.
- specious based on pretense; deceptively pleasing EXAMPLE SENTENCE: In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air.
- phantasmagoric characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions EXAMPLE SENTENCE: While the objects around me--while the carvings of the ceilings, the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as I strode, were but matters to which, or to such as which, I had been accustomed from my infancy--while I hesitated not to acknowledge how familiar was all this--I still wondered to find how unfamiliar were the fancies which ordinary images were stirring up.
- trepidation a feeling of alarm or dread EXAMPLE SENTENCE: He accosted me with trepidation and passed on.
- irredeemable insusceptible of reform EXAMPLE SENTENCE: An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.
- pallid abnormally deficient in color as suggesting physical or emotional distress EXAMPLE SENTENCE: A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve;
- inordinate beyond normal limits EXAMPLE SENTENCE: a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity; these features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten.
- prevailing most frequent or common EXAMPLE SENTENCE: And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke.
- wont an established custom EXAMPLE SENTENCE: And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke.
- gossamer characterized by unusual lightness and delicacy EXAMPLE SENTENCE: The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.
- abeyance temporary cessation or suspension EXAMPLE SENTENCE: His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision
- enunciation the articulation of speech regarded from the point of view of its intelligibility to the audience EXAMPLE SENTENCE: His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision--that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation
- modulate adjust the pitch, tone, or volume of EXAMPLE SENTENCE: His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision--that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation--that leaden, self-balanced and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement.
- solace the act of consoling; giving relief in affliction EXAMPLE SENTENCE: It was thus that he spoke of the object of my visit, of his earnest desire to see me, and of the solace he expected me to afford him.
- insipid lacking taste or flavor or tang EXAMPLE SENTENCE: He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror.
- anomalous deviating from the general or common order or type EXAMPLE SENTENCE: To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave.
- abhorrence hate coupled with disgust EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect--in terror.
- supposititious based primarily on surmise rather than adequate evidence EXAMPLE SENTENCE: He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth--in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be re-stated
- turret a small tower extending above a building EXAMPLE SENTENCE: an influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of his family mansion, had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained over his spirit--an effect which the physique of the gray walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the morale of his existence.
- palpable capable of being perceived; especially capable of being handled or touched or felt EXAMPLE SENTENCE: He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin--to the severe and long-continued illness--indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution--of a tenderly beloved sister--his sole companion for long years--his last and only relative on earth.
- emaciated very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold EXAMPLE SENTENCE: When a door, at length, closed upon her, my glance sought instinctively and eagerly the countenance of the brother--but he had buried his face in his hands, and I could only perceive that a far more than ordinary wanness had overspread the emaciated fingers through which trickled many passionate tears.
- dirge a song or hymn of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person EXAMPLE SENTENCE: His long improvised dirges will ring forever in my ears.
- educe deduce (a principle) or construe (a meaning) EXAMPLE SENTENCE: from these paintings (vivid as their images now are before me) I would in vain endeavor to educe more than a small portion which should lie within the compass of merely written words.
- hypochondriac a patient with imaginary symptoms and ailments EXAMPLE SENTENCE: For me at least--in the circumstances then surrounding me--there arose out of the pure abstractions which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his canvass, an intensity of intolerable awe, no shadow of which felt I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too concrete reveries of Fuseli.
- fervid characterized by intense emotion EXAMPLE SENTENCE: But the fervid facility of his impromptus could not be so accounted for.
- allude make a more or less disguised reference to EXAMPLE SENTENCE: They must have been, and were, in the notes, as well as in the words of his wild fantasias (for he not unfrequently accompanied himself with rhymed verbal improvisations), the result of that intense mental collectedness and concentration to which I have previously alluded as observable only in particular moments of the highest artificial excitement.
- seraph an angel of the first order; usually portrayed as the winged head of a child EXAMPLE SENTENCE: Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair.
- rampart an embankment built around a space for defensive purposes EXAMPLE SENTENCE: Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
- assail launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with EXAMPLE SENTENCE: But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate
- discordant lacking in harmony EXAMPLE SENTENCE: And travellers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody
- pertinacity persistent determination EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I well remember that suggestions arising from this ballad, led us into a train of thought wherein there became manifest an opinion of Usher's which I mention not so much on account of its novelty, (for other men have thought thus) as on account of the pertinacity with which he maintained it.
- interment the ritual placing of a corpse in a grave EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its probable influence upon the hypochondriac, when, one evening, having informed me abruptly that the lady Madeline was no more, he stated his intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight, (previously to its final interment) in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls of the building.
- inexplicable incapable of being explained or accounted for EXAMPLE SENTENCE: At times, again, I was obliged to resolve all into the mere inexplicable vagaries of madness, for I beheld him gazing upon vacancy for long hours, in an attitude of the profoundest attention, as if listening to some imaginary sound.
- cadaverous of or relating to a cadaver or corpse EXAMPLE SENTENCE: His countenance was, as usual, cadaverously wan--but, moreover, there was a species of mad hilarity in his eyes--an evidently restrained hysteria in his whole demeanor.
- tempestuous characterized by violent emotions or behavior EXAMPLE SENTENCE: It was, indeed, a tempestuous yet sternly beautiful night, and one wildly singular in its terror and its beauty.
- miasma unhealthy vapors rising from the ground or other sources EXAMPLE SENTENCE: "These appearances, which bewilder you, are merely electrical phenomena not uncommon--or it may be that they have their ghastly origin in the rank miasma of the tarn.
- prolixity boring verbosity EXAMPLE SENTENCE: The antique volume which I had taken up was the "Mad Trist" of Sir Launcelot Canning; but I had called it a favorite of Usher's more in sad jest than in earnest; for, in truth, there is little in its uncouth and unimaginative prolixity which could have had interest for the lofty and spiritual ideality of my friend.
- anomaly deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule EXAMPLE SENTENCE: It was, however, the only book immediately at hand; and I indulged a vague hope that the excitement which now agitated the hypochondriac, might find relief (for the history of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in the extremeness of the folly which I should read.
- vivacity characterized by high spirits and animation EXAMPLE SENTENCE: Could I have judged, indeed, by the wild overstrained air of vivacity with which he harkened, or apparently harkened, to the words of the tale, I might well have congratulated myself upon the success of my design.
- parley a negotiation between enemies EXAMPLE SENTENCE: "And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now mighty withal, on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had drunken, waited no longer to hold parley with the hermit
- prodigious so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe EXAMPLE SENTENCE: "But the good champion Ethelred, now entering within the door, was sore enraged and amazed to perceive no signal of the maliceful hermit; but, in the stead thereof, a dragon of a scaly and prodigious demeanor, and of a fiery tongue, which sate in guard before a palace of gold, with a floor of silver
- variance a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions EXAMPLE SENTENCE: The motion of his body, too, was at variance with this idea--for he rocked from side to side with a gentle yet constant and uniform sway.
- brazen made of or resembling brass (as in color or hardness) EXAMPLE SENTENCE: "And now, the champion, having escaped from the terrible fury of the dragon, bethinking himself of the brazen shield, and of the breaking up of the enchantment which was upon it, removed the carcass from out of the way before him, and approached valorously over the silver pavement of the castle to where the shield was upon the wall
- upbraid express criticism towards EXAMPLE SENTENCE: Oh whither shall I fly? Will she not be here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste?
- ponderous having great mass and weight and unwieldiness EXAMPLE SENTENCE: As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a spell--the huge antique pannels to which the speaker pointed, threw slowly back, upon the instant, their ponderous and ebony jaws.
- aghast struck with fear, dread, or consternation EXAMPLE SENTENCE: From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast.
- tumultuous characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination EXAMPLE SENTENCE: While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher."
NOTES: Literary Devices