Styles of Edgar Allan Poe

Assignment: Students will write a 2000 word essay examining the style of Edgar Allan Poe. Your essay will follow traditional conventions: an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion.

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Use MLA or APA to format and document the quoted content included in your essay development.

Note:  Style is the personality of a piece of writing. It is the individual way a writer expresses ideas.

For example: A study of style includes examining diction (word choice), syntax ( the way words are structured to form sentences), figures of speech (figurative language), point of view, mood, tone, purpose, rhetorical strategy, imagery, symbol, and content. Include a discussion of plot, character, theme, irony, point of view, symbol, foreshadowing and setting.

An important aspect of style involves: the connotation of words, the number of words, the rhythm and structure of the sentences, the number of words used to describe an object, the use of dialogue.

To better determine style features ask yourself the following: what is the nature of the words the writer uses? Are they elevated words? Are they everyday words? Are they written in dialect? If so what does dialect add to the development of the story? Are the sentences simple or complicated? How does their structure help the writer to achieve maybe mood, atmosphere, description of character, settings, etc.? Certainly there are so many more questions you can raise concerning how a writer writes and creates meaning and an impression on his audience.


Students must read Masque of the Red Death, Cask of Amontillado (text 165), Pit and the Pendulum (use this link or Google

Student discussion of style will focus on three shared characteristics of these three works that establish Poe’s distinct style. For each style feature use all three stories to serve as examples/illustrations. For example: If you use horror as a feature of his plot, then discuss all three stories’ plot and the way he develops them through aspects of horror. Then choose a second and then a third style feature using all three stories as discussion/illustration for each feature.

Consider any elements of literature that pertain such as the way he develops or the content of the plot of his stories, the types of characters he creates, if he relies on imagery, his use of symbols, his word choice in the creation of mood, or possibly the link his stories have to actual history. (Those are just a few suggestions from which to choose.) I strongly suggest reading criticisms that examine Poe before you begin the assignment.


*Examples with relevant quotes to illustrate the style features selected must be taken from the three stories students read and incorporated into the discussion.


Student papers must have a works cited page if using the MLA style of documentation and a reference page if using the APA style of documentation.

Students will place their heading on the first page of the essay. * Do not include a title page.


       Student papers must be typed, doubled spaced, and use size 12′ font. ***Add as an attachment.

Paper word count must not have fewer or exceed 2000 words by more than 75 words. *Place the word count at the bottom of the works cited page/reference page. Your word count may include the works cited/reference page.

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