Picture this: it’s a dark and stormy Friday night; your parents are out of town. You decide to pop some popcorn and turn on a classic scary movie. The opening credits roll, and the first scene fades from black. From behind your blanket shield, you hear a narrator begin to speak in a deep, mysterious tone. “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…” Sounds spooky, right? This isn’t your ordinary horror film. It’s actually a poem, written by none other than Edgar Allan Poe. I know what you’re thinking; nothing is scary about a poet. Well, then you’ve never read an Edgar Allan Poe piece. You may be thinking that a writer from the 1800s is not for you, but here is why you’re wrong:
- Poe’s writing can be scarier than your favorite horror films today. His tales and poems start at scary and go to just straight terrifying. Ever heard of “The Cask of Amontillado?” It’s a charming little tale that starts with a goofy wine connoisseur who gets buried alive in a wall full of skeletons. How about “The Black Cat?” No? I’ll let you read that for yourself.
- Poe’s writing is “#relatable,” as the teens say. I’m sure we’ve all read “The Raven” at one point or another in our educational careers. But, did you know that it was actually written about one of Poe’s many long lost loves, Sarah Elmira Royster? Reread it and you’ll find that “Le Nore” is actually Sarah and the emptiness he hears in return is the pain he felt when she was gone. And if we’re being honest, we’ve all felt that way after a break-up.
- The morals and stories in general stick with you forever. As previously stated, these pieces are quite spooky. Because of this, they will stay in your mind, almost permanently. The moral of “Hop-Frog” is to treat others as you want to be treated, or it might come back to burn you, literally. The moral of “The Tell Tale heart” is to do what is right, or it will drive you to insanity. The list goes on and on!
- Poe’s works are actually quite funny, in a dark, cynical way. With the story of “Hop-Frog,” the poor dwarf is mistreated by his barbaric, animalistic superiors. Therefore, the dwarf seeks revenge by turning them into just that.
- His writings, whether poetry or short story, are just straight beautiful. Take for instance, “To—,” A letter Poe wrote that eventually turned into one of his greatest works.
“I heed not that my earthly lot | Hath—little of Earth in it-- | That years of love have been forgot In the hatred of a minute -- | I mourn not that the desolate | Are happier, sweet, than I, | But that you sorry for my fate | Who am a passer by.”
I may be biased, but if it wasn’t clear before, Poe is just plain awesome. His works, though written decades ago, are timeless. Their messages and morals speak volumes, whether scary, sad, or strange. So, turn off that lame "Friday the 13th" remake and delve into the world of Poe.