In many of Poe’s works, setting is used to paint a dark and gloomy picture in our minds. I think that this was done deliberatly by Poe so that the reader can make a connection between darkness and death. For example, in the Pit and the Pendulum, the setting is originally pitch black. As the story unfolds, we see how the setting begins to play an important role in how the narrator discovers the many ways he may die. Although he must rely on his senses alone to feel his surroundings, he knows that somewhere in this dark, gloomy room, that death awaits him.
Setting is also an important characteristic is Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. The images he gives us such as how both the Usher family and the Usher mansion are crumbling from inside waiting to collapse, help us to connect the background with the story. The Usher mansion appears vacant and barren. The same is true for the narrator. As we picture in our minds the extreme decay and decomposistion, we can feelas though the life around it is also crumbling. Narration is also an element in Poe’s short story style that appears to link all of the stories together.
He has a type of creativity which lets the reader see into the mind of the narrator or the main character of the story. Many of the characters in Poe’s stories seem to be insane. The narrator often seems to have some type of psychological problems. For exapmle, In Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, the story opens with a first person narrator (Montresor) speaking about the planning of Fortunato’s death. By the anger and remorse that Montresor has for Fortunato, one might think that this was a recent incident.
It is not until the very end of the story that we realize, that the entire event occurred fifty years ago). Poe’s stories often have narrators that feel extreme hate or extreme love for another character in the story. Another example of Poe’s narrative style is seen in his story entitled, The Black Cat, where the narrator seems to have an obsession with pets. He has one special pet which is a black cat. Although their original relationship with each other is one of respect and love, the situation soon changes. The narrator becomes somewhat possessed with the hate for the car.
He turns against his wife and stabs his cat in the eye. By the end of the story, he killed his wife in an attempt to kill the cat. Afterwards, the narrator does not even feel remorse for the wrongful death of his wife. Instead, he is just happy that the cat dissapeared. This is just another instance in which the reader wonders what is the driving force begins the narrator’s insanity Even though there are many more elements to Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories than just his creative use of narration and setting, these are characteristivs which has attracted the most attention.