Monday, September 27, 2010

The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe - Book Review #88

Monday, September 27, 2010
The Pit and the Pendulum
by Edgar Allan Poe

In The Pit And The Pendulum author Edgar Allan Poe weaves the story of a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, tried and condemned to death and locked in a horrific torture chamber to meet his doom at the hands of his sadistic keepers.


I’m not the biggest fan of Edgar Poe. On the other hand I didn’t read too many of his works to make a decision if I like his works in general or not. Somehow, I never saw or felt his stories as a horror. I just never was really scared by his stories. I understand why other people view them as horror, but never actually felt this way myself. Though, I always considered Edgar Poe’s stories as mysteries. I was never able to guess correctly how any of stories going to end.

It bothered me for some time why I wasn’t horrified by Edgar Poe’s prose, like most of the people were. For quite some time I was blaming it on my not too good of a fantasy. I was thinking that I can’t really imagine thing that Edgar Poe was describing, these events somehow didn’t become real enough to me to be scared of.

After reading The Pit and the Pendulum, I think, I finally understood why I wasn’t afraid. I think it has to do with Edgar Poe’s writing style. For instance, The Pit and the Pendulum is written from the first person point of view, in cases like this I usually expect a more personal approach to the story – sometimes messy, sometime illogical, sometimes stupid. However, in The Pit and the Pendulum, the voice of the main character, the person from which point of view the story is told, sounds to me as too calm and too objective, too rational for the person who is in the unknown pit and the death is lurking just around the corner. His voice sounds too rational to me because of the way he describes things – in full details. It seems like the hero himself is not paralyzed with the fear or taking by despair, because he can clearly see and evaluate the situation. No, I can give him a benefit of the doubt and consider that he is an extraordinary person who can act calm and rational in such situations, which would mean that he is not scared and can get out if this situation. So why should I be scared for him? I’m not, I’m confident in such rational hero. I believe he will find his way out of this situation.

Besides the fact that I don’t consider it to be a horror, I still enjoyed The Pit and the Pendulum. The mystery part was great, as usual for all Edgar Poe’s stories. The story was so short that it seems like it doesn’t give you enough time to try to figure thing out. However, I think time is not the issue here, because Edgar Poe gives multiple clues to the reader during the story. Somehow, my brain and my eyes just decide to ignore them until the very ending when everything is revealed.


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