I have decided to node the prewritten copy of an essay I did for an English test with a few minor changes and hardlinks because I spent a lot of time preparing for it, I got a pretty good grade on it, and I think it's stuff that would fit in pretty well on E2.
Okay, so I didn't officially cite any sources. My only sources are Poe's stories that were mentioned in the essay, a brief history of Poe's life written by my teacher, Mr. St. Jean, and the resulting in-class discussion.
Edgar A. Poe’s life is reflected in his works. Poe had a number of distinctive characteristics and beliefs about the world that
reappear in characters and themes in all of his works. The first of these themes is lost loves, of which Poe had many. The second is alcoholism and perversion, of which Poe had many distinctive characteristics. The third theme is the abuse of Poe by the rich he has helped to achieve their high heights.
Edgar A. Poe had many lost loves in his life. He lost his mother at age two, his foster mother while he was in his teens, his friend’s mother, whom he loved with a puppy love, to the insane asylum, Sarah Royster to her parents, Virginia, his cousin and wife to TB, and Mrs. Whitman to drink. He equated many of his feelings about the circumstances and the methods of their demises in his stories. In his “A Dream within a Dream,” written in 1827, he talks about holding onto grains of sand which he compares to his attempts to hold onto the loves in his life. The harder he grasps the grains, the faster they slip away, just as the loves in Poe’s life slip away when things are working out for him. In the “Oval Portrait” of 1842, the artist who represents Poe was painting a picture of his wife, his superlative masterpiece, only to find that she dies just as he was finishing the last of the portrait. It was said “He already had a bride in his art,” just as Poe was so attached to his art that he would not sacrifice it for his true wife. In “The Black Cat” of 1843, Poe kills his wife when she was trying to interfere with his attempted murder of the cat that he hates. In “The Raven” of 1845, the narrative Poe character reflects on the death of his wife Lenore, whom Poe equates to the inevitable death of his wife, Virginia. He asks the raven whether he will ever see his wife again, and the raven responds “nevermore,” as he knows his wife will in time pass, and he will be without yet another of his loves. In 1849’s “Hop Frog,” the lead female character, Trippetta, represents his lost loves. The dominant king in the story stole Trippetta away from her home for his court, and escapes in a plan with Hop Frog, the Poe-type character. This is like Poe’s love for Sarah, broken away by the oppressive parents, but there was victory in the end. In another part of the story, the king splashes wine in Trippetta’s face, symbolic of society’s throwing wine in Virginia’s face by depriving Poe of the compensation he deserves and therefore not being able to provide Virginia with the conditions she would need to avoid TB. In “Annabel Lee,” also written in 1849, Poe reflects again on the loss of his loves of Virginia and Sarah. The love that Poe experienced was so great that even angels in heaven coveted that love, and they endeavored to deprive him of it. And thus he wrote that Sarah’s highborn kinsmen bore her away from him, and that they chilled and killed Virginia in the way that she died of disease. All of the lost loves in Poe’s stories are represented in his life.
Poe also had a problem with alcoholism and perversion, as he viewed it. Perversion, defined by Poe, is the act of doing something even though you know you should not do it. Poe was allergic to alcohol and knew that if he drank, he would become very sick, and sometimes even put himself in a comatose state. The fear of being in a coma sprang from the fear of being buried alive; some people at the time were buried alive because they were in comas, but everyone thought they were already dead. Both the title and the plot of his 1844 story “Premature Burial” illustrate this fear of his, and yet he continues to drink. A poem containing perversion, but not alcohol abuse is “A Dream within a Dream.” The way he holds onto the grains of sand tighter than he knows he should signify his conscious acts of perversion. The main character, the Poe-like character, in “The Black Cat” is driven to do what he does in the story by alcohol, even though he realizes how he is destroying his life. In “Hop Frog,” Hop Frog is highly allergic to alcohol, but the king forces it on him to make him more of a target for their entertainment, just as Poe was flamebait for the people of his time due to the alcohol that they forced him to use as it was the only way for him to cope with his problems. Poe’s whole problem with alcohol and perversion is that although he knew it was bad for him, he could not stand life without it. Drinking was the better of two evils, in his opinion, even though it led to serious problems throughout his life, including the broken engagement with Mrs. Whitman, which, if completed, would propel him out of poverty and into a reasonable way of life.
Poe was abused by the rich throughout his life for personal furtherance of those rich people. In his poem “Alone,” of 1829, he stated that he was different than everyone else, that he saw things from a different perspective. In the clear sky with only a single cloud, he saw a devil. He was different, and people like to blame their problems on different people. Therefore, he became an anti-rich activist, expressed in many of his writings. He was therefore abused by the upper class. In his 1831 poem “Israfel,” he stated how he would be great if he were in the place of the angel Israfel, who was praised by all eternity. He implied that he would be better at what he did than all others if he were only in a position to fully express himself and be understood by everyone. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” a short story of 1942, the rich Prince Prospero ignored the pleas of those outside his upper class, those who made him as prosperous as he was, in place of satisfying himself and his friends. In “Hop Frog,” the king and his advisors are looking for personal social gain at the expense of Hop Frog and Trippetta by physically and emotionally abusing them by teasing them, and forcing them to do things unhealthful for them. In “Annabel Lee,” the angels who were jealous of Annabel Lee’s love caused her demise, just as those who were jealous and insulting of Poe, caused his and his loves’ demises. Poe was determined to change his social position and abuse those who had abused in the past, and he believed he was going to, before his demise before his wedding with Sarah.
Although these direct ties can alone prove that Poe’s life is reflected in his works, more evidence is provided about his life in his stories. He thoroughly incorporates psychology into many of his stories, which he knew a great deal of. He uses personal fears in his stories, along with characteristics of his surroundings. Even though there are many a correlation more than are stated here, the connections provided here suggest that Poe’s writing were an outlet for his life, an extension into the Poe that he really was not, but perceived he was.