Studying a Literary Genius in English

Submitted by tiffanie.miley on

Mrs. Vonnie Burton’s eighth and ninth grade English classes have been studying a literary genius: Edgar Allan Poe. According to Mrs. Burton, it was required for them to study a story by him. A story is chosen for each grade based on reading level. As part of their Elements of Suspense study, the eighth graders read “The Black Cat”, and the ninth graders read “The Cask Of Amantillado.”

Ninth graders were studying Poe through his history. They’ve studied theories on his death, how he wrote mysterious stories and had a mysterious life and death. They were to recognize his literary devices and his use of gothic style. They’re reading The Cask of Amantillado, which has a theme of revenge and repression. Poe uses symbolic names and ironic twists.

The eighth graders were looking at Poe by studying the theme and lesson in “The Black Cat,” covering superstitions and looking over the symbolism and the gothic style in the writing. “The Black Cat” is a story of a dynamic character who commits a crime because of alchohol. Poe uses horror to teach temperance.

Mrs. Burton admires how Poe overcame many obstacles such as being orphaned at a young age, and never adopted. He as disowned, he suffered tragic romances and an early death of his wife, plus career disappointments.  She said that Poe writes with eloquence. He used many literary devices. “He has different layers of meaning in his stories and lessons,” said Mrs. Burton, “He had a great knowing of medicine’s and science.” It was after his wife’s death when he started to delve in universal mysteries. In his treatise Eureka, Poe discusses mysteries of the universe, “He was way ahead of his time, I believe him a genius,” Mrs. Burton said.  It bothers Mrs. Burton that Poe doesn’t get worldly recognition for his knowledge and theories in medicine and science. That seems to be overlooked because of his literary contributions. Poe is responsible for bringing back the contemporary mystery story and for inventing the horror genre.

Nikki Drake is a ninth grader in Mrs. Burton’s ninth grade English class. She brags on how she shares the same birthday as Poe; she likes his work, too. “It’s good because you can tell he worked hard.”

“He’s not here to actually interview,” Nikki  explained on the mysteries surrounding Poe’s death, “So people just have to interview different people that have different resources as to where they got their information.” Nikki is excited about learning about Poe. She said, “He’s so interesting and amazing!”

Kenia Martinez, SJHS Staff Writer