Daily Archives: April 23, 2016

The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

The Pit and the PendulumPoe masters the art of quickly drawing the reader right into his tale in The Pit and the Pendulum.  How could anyone not be mesmerized with the following opening…

I was sick–sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me.  The sentence–the dread sentence of death–was the last distinct accentuation which reached my ears.

A doomed man finds himself in a seemingly inescapable torture chamber.  Hints of an inquisition dealing out unwarranted death sentences seem to have delivered this man to his final days.

The narrator is the sole character and seems to come to consciousness slowly allowing the reader to become aware of his arrival and current plight.  Finding himself in darkness, he attempts to determine where he is and what fate awaits him.  As he encounters horror after horror, he turns extremely resourceful and deals with each obstacle quite bravely.

General LaSalle arrives quite near the end…


He who has never swooned is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that flow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower; is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.

It would be difficult to contain my adoration of Mr. Poe, but I’d try my best.  Once again, I would choose to meet in an open forum as my paranoid mind would anticipate potential horrors my companion might have in store for such an unsuspecting soul as I.

My rating for The Pit and the Pendulum is a 10 out of 10.

Please share your own reviews or comments by using the Leave A Comment link below.

Next up, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye…The Bluest Eye


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The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher  It has been a while since reading Poe and now I remember why I was so enthralled with him when first introduced by a marvelous 8th grade teacher.  I was a little worried that I wouldn’t feel quite the same, but it was like returning to a long forgotten place that still invigorates the senses.

Poe manages to completely intrigue his reader in just an opening sentence or two.  That monumental ability will allow his works to be enjoyed in perpetuity.

A man receives a letter requesting a visit from an old boyhood friend who seems to be in failing health.  Even before his arrival, the narrator begins to feel unsettled and senses this will not be a pleasant reunion.

Little is revealed about the narrator other than his friendship with Usher and his appreciation for books and music.  His friend’s condition seems to initially escape him until he begins to question his own sanity.

Roderick Usher is suffering a number of maladies including hypochondria, ultrasensitivity to light and sound and an evident descent into madness.  He only seems to be calmed with books and music.

Twin sister to Roderick, Lady Madeline is said to be quite ill, with no known origin and one wonders if her brother may have a hand in her illness.  When her suffering seems to come to end, it is, in fact only beginning.

With Poe’s literary references to Gresset, Machiavelli, Swedenborg, etc., I’d certainly feel narrowly read and would try to discuss his writing methods instead.  While a tete a tete in an isolated locale would likely be ideal, I think instead I’d choose a more populated destination for our meeting.

My rating for The Fall of the House of Usher is a 10 out of 10.

Please share your own reviews or comments by using the Leave A Comment link below.

Next up, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum…

The Pit and the Pendulum

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