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Males in the Life and Stories of Poe

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Gruesome and horrifying, Edgar Allen Poe’s stories have factors of reality ingrained in them that cannot be denied. His twisted works contain displays of ordinary life that gives the reader the opportunity to connect on a basic level. The relationships he develops among his characters are particularly relatable and familiar, especially the bonds formed between male protagonists. It would also seem as though Poe himself nurtured strong comraderies with men but in fact he possessed no such bonds. In Fall of the House of Usher and Murders in the Red Morgue strong male relationships are the foundation for support and teamwork in the face of unusual circumstances and mystery. Simply put, Poe is living vicariously through his characters, creating relationships that he starved for in his daily life.

Roderick and the narrator in The Fall of the House of Usher are reunited childhood friends due to Roderick’s ailments and ill sister. The narrator comments on the closeness of their relationship but admits that did not necessarily mean there was no discretion, “Although as boys we had been even intimate associates, yet I really knew little of my friend. His reserve had been always excessive and habitual” (pg 22). Dupin from The Murders in the Red Morgue also has a close association with the narrator but stumps the narrator with his sleuth capabilities, “Dupin, this is beyond my comprehension. I do not hesitate to say that I am amazed, and can scarcely credit my senses. How was it possible you should know I was thinking of--?” (pg 106). Although the relationships are intimate and generally secure, there is a level of distance between the comrades, separated by the unknown. Both narrators cannot tap into the meaning behind their friends’ behavior and abilities, the origin of their personas and circumstances. The slight distance present in the relationships is an understatement of the poor relationships Poe had with him.

The very first and probably the most essential male figure in a boy's life abandoned Poe's family before he could talk. He never knew his father, which justifies the desire to write strong male relationships in his stories to compensate for the void made by his absence. Poe did not have any healthy male relationship models to base his fictional friendships off of, which explains the elements of the unknown. The narrator cannot explain the reason for Roderick's eccentric, paranoid ways, nor is there much understanding towards Dupin's highly observant eye and way of deduction. Roderick and Dupin are difficult to figure out and slightly confuse their friends. Poe never had a clear male figure in his life. Whether they were completely absent from his life or devoid of affection and support, he never had the chance to figure out men. He was only met with criticism and indifference from his stepfather to the newspaper editor. The characters Poe created are unapologetically complex figures, dressed up with strange hobbies and beliefs in order to be a decorated companion for Poe. The more elaborate the character the more realistic they become, imitating the complex nature of real human



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