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The Secret That Finally Came to Light

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Camesha Neil

Jessica Cadieux

ERW 603-101 (03008)

24 April

The secret that finally came to light.

“The man that was Used Up” is a short classic story that keep the reader interesting because of the tension and eagerness of wanting to know who is the General that everyone is praising and what is the secret that is being hidden[a]. “In the Man that was Used Up” by Edgar[b] Allan Poe, the author uses plot to build suspense and anticipation; characterization to ‘show’ that there is something suspicious about the General, which ultimately leads to the narrator’s shock that the General is a robot.

        Poe use plot to build tension where every time the narrator inquire about the heroic General, the conversation gets interrupted, which made it seems as though everyone is withholding information[c]. The story begins with an unnamed narrator who is very curious to meet the General who everyone admire including the narrator.The narrator is suspicious that there is something mysterious about the General which leads him to question everyone but somehow the conversation always gets interrupted. He went to Miss Tabitha T who is the person that the narrator is convinced would  know something about the General. Instead  she emphasizes on the latest advancement of technology and when she is about to say something about the General, “[...] Smith!-Brevet Brigadier General John A.B.C.! why you know he’s the man-” “Man,” here broke in Doctor.”(The Man that was Used Up, paragraph 13[d]). The way the conversation gets interrupted make it seem as though Miss Tabitha T should not say anything.The way the events occur throughout  the story  where the narrator’s questions are left unanswered builds up suspense and anticipation in the story.

Additionally , the author use characterization, the method ‘showing’ to illustrate that there is something about the General that is shady in the way he walks and his very attracting appearance. The narrator feels that the appearance of the General is all to be perfect to be real and something is dubious about his movements. This is shown [e]when the narrator said, “ There was a primness, not to say stiffness, in his carriage- a degree of measured and, if I may so express it, of rectangular precision attending his every movement, which, observed in a more diminutive figure, would have had the least little savor in the world of affectation, pomposity, or constraint, but which, noticed in a gentleman of his undoubted dimensions, was readily placed to the account of reserve, hauteur- of a commendable sense, in short, of what is due to the dignity of colossal proportion.” (The Man that was Used Up, paragraph 4) This demonstrate that the General appear to be less humanly which encourages the suspicious feeling and pushes the narrator to keep inquiring about the General and to discover the secret that is being hidden.



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