View Full Version : Favorite Poe Short Story

11-26-2005, 08:54 AM
Personally, my favorite is "The Masque of the Red Death." The revelation of the Red Death's arrival is so chilling (untenanted by any tangible form), and the last line is so eerily effective at conveying the "single effect" that Poe defined.

...and Darkness, and Decay, and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

11-26-2005, 01:08 PM
The Masque Of Red Death seems a classic that will never die - good choice, RobinHood. Though I cannot merely narrow down one favorite Poe story, I would choose among The Black Cat, The Unparalleled Adventures Of One Hans Pfaal, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Cask Of Amontillado.

11-26-2005, 02:34 PM
I think "The Tell-Tale Heart" is Poe's finest short story. It's a classic tale of horror and psycho-drama.

11-26-2005, 03:00 PM
'The Masque Of The Red Death.'

12-08-2005, 03:45 AM
The black cat. Only because my cat is the most annoying creature I know. Don't get me wrong, I'm a cat person, Joey is not my first cat. But I read "The Black Cat" for the first time right before I got Joey. The second cat in the story has an earily identical personality to Joey (shudders). ...That and "The Black Cat" appeals to nearly everyone's sence of insanity, we are all sinners: Poe sems to surface the dark side of us all so well in that story. Having said that, I've read most of his poems but very few of his stories, so i'll stop rambling now.

Xamonas Chegwe
01-06-2006, 12:11 PM
Another vote for Tell Tale Heart here. It reminds me of Crime & Punishment in the way the guilty mind constructs it's own downfall but on a much smaller scale.

01-06-2006, 12:36 PM
I like "THe Fall of the House of Usher."

01-06-2006, 01:07 PM
'The Masque Of The Red Death.'

:thumbs_up Agree 100 %

02-02-2006, 08:48 PM
I love The Mask of the Red Death" To me it tells that no matter what you try to do you can't stop destiny whether it is death or anything else.

02-25-2006, 04:08 PM
I am a sucker for "The Masque of Red Death" bacuse it was in my favorite musical of al times (PTO)

02-28-2006, 05:13 PM
"The Fall of the House of Usher" I think this is what started my fear of confined spaces.

03-28-2006, 10:04 PM
I personally love 'The Gold Bug', although it would fit better under long stories, I think it is very interesting how they decipher the scroll and what they have to do to find the treasure.
I also like 'The Cask of Amontillado", the 'Oval Portrait' and 'The Tale-Tell Heart'. But my favorite story is, by far, "Silence - A fable' (Not the poem!), it's really amazing, i remained speechless when i first read it, so if you haven't you MUST! here's the link http://bau2.uibk.ac.at/sg/poe/works/silence.html

04-09-2006, 11:06 AM
"The Premature Burial". maybe because of the chilling description . it is quite appalling at moments. would like to hear some of your comments on the story.

05-15-2006, 09:15 PM
Premature burial is always a frightening theme; you see it in the works of many writers. Stephen King, to name the most well-known, has written about it more than once. It's a scary thing in many ways; loss of control of your surroundings; loss of control over whether you live or die.

That said, I think the one that still makes me catch my breath each time I read it is "The Tale-Tale Heart." The mounting insanity, the way his own thoughts betray him--reading that is as exciting the tenth time as the first!

05-19-2006, 02:37 AM
I do love The Cask of Amontillado. His repetition of Fortunato always blew me away.

Yes, for the love of God.

06-01-2006, 03:38 PM
The tell tale heart && the masque of red death<33

06-15-2006, 03:00 PM
I'll have to read The Masque of Red Death now, for I'm sure that if I had read it and liked it I would have remembered it as whole-heartedly as everyone here is. So far, my chips are on The Cask of Amontillado...and I have no idea why...but The Oblong Box is by Poe, right? I remember it as his, so I hope it is. In any case, I read it many years ago and for some strange reason still remember it.

I need to re-buy some Poe books.

06-15-2006, 03:35 PM
I was just mentioning in the depressing stories thread that I liked Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. I also love The Tell Tale Heart. There was one that I cannot remember if Poe wrote it or not..I think it was called The Oval Portrait (I read it in highschool). But now, I think I am going to read The Masque of Red Death since so many seem to love that one.

(hey, I reached one hundred!!!!)

06-15-2006, 05:38 PM
lol grace (congrats! :p)...well I just read the Masque of Red Death and Fall of the House of Usher...and I can see why Masque is so well-liked, but I like Fall of the House of Usher better :D ...cask of Amontillado will still keep a special, immovable place in my heart, though.

06-15-2006, 05:57 PM
The telltale heart was def. good. also, i like the ragged mountains one although i never quite got it.. oh and the one about the spanish inquisition was really interesting

a better question is which story i DIDNT like lol

06-15-2006, 08:45 PM
Yay!!! Another Usher fan!! Well, still have to read the Masque.

06-15-2006, 11:19 PM
I didn't like "The Tell-Tale Heart" so much, I'm not really sure why.

06-15-2006, 11:45 PM
Downfall of the house of Usher, and then the Tell Tale Heart...though my favourites of his are his poetry, specifically the Raven.

06-16-2006, 03:31 AM
Poe being the reason I took to literature, I've always dogmatically held (like the implicit faith of a theist) that his writing is as exquisite as can be - not a single word can be altered to make it better for his work is the epitome of excellence. So its almost impossible for me to pick just one of his work as my favourite. But the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Poe is, "The fall of the house of Usher".

If anyone of you have read the poem "A dream within a dream" by Poe kindly tell me what do you think the title of this poem connotes.

06-16-2006, 06:01 PM
As with many poets, Poe often revised and reused poetry or verses written earlier with his later works. This may have been because the thought, concept or theme of the earlier poem was, in his mind, applicable to the idea he wished to convey later in his life. The dilemma with Poe’s poem, A Dream Within A Dream is that I am not sure to which version you are referring. Therefore, I will presume it is the latest, March 1849 version. I include it here for clarity.

A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow --
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand --
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep -- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?.

This poem, differing significantly from its earlier versions, was printed in the Flag of Our Union on March 31, 1849 and was the first time, as I understand, that it appeared with the title, A Dream Within a Dream. It was first included in Poe’s Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827 with the title, Imitation and again in Al Aaraaf in 1829 as To ___ ___ ___ .

Edward H. O’Neill, in his bibliographical notes of Edgar Allan Poe – Complete Tales and Poems makes the observation that, “Poe was constantly concerned with the dream-state.” Here he refers to that middle stratum between sleeping and waking. I do not know that I agree fully with O’Neill in this regard. However, there appears to be a general consensus that Poe maintained an interest in this cognizant state of unconsciousness where one is, by all appearances unconscious (asleep), yet consciously aware of his surroundings. At least, that’s my interpretation.

The interpretation of the poem is most certainly not a universal one. I have read several over the years and, like most Poe enthusiasts, I like mine best. This, by no measure, makes it the correct one but, simply, the one that causes me, personally, the least conflict.

The first eleven lines open the poem and allude to thoughts of departure or change from what is, to what he wishes it to be. Here, I believe he refers to the transition of the state of slumber to the conscious waking state. He speaks of his life thus far as if it had been a dream and that if his hopes have not, by now, been fulfilled, then shall they ever be and asks if it is as such for all of us. Are all our hopes merely a fantasy to be seen or enjoyed only in our dreams, a wish that is to remain unfulfilled except in our imaginative unconscious state where reality ceases to exist and there are no limitations or boundaries to encumber our hopes.

In the last thirteen lines, I believe he refers to the conscious state or reality. The first two lines suggests that he has reached a point in his turbulent life, perhaps a turning point and one that he has envisioned in his hope filled dreams. He speaks of all the things in his life of any substance or significance, things that he values most above all else. He goes on to speak of his inability to achieve happiness and of the inevitable loss of his most treasured possessions or, perhaps relationships. He speaks further of how little he has asked of life and his sorrow for their loss. He asks God why he cannot hold on to these treasures and why it is that he cannot savor at least one true cherished possession. Finally, he asks once again, whether it is only fantasy that is a dream, or is it that reality itself is but a dream as well.

I suppose this is not the best interpretation or even the most logical one, but it is the one that best suits my love of his poetry.

Some additional notes not specifically relevant to this poem is that Poe, not an especially religious man in his early life, found his faith in his last years with the help of his nurse, Marie Louise ‘Louie’ Shew. In one of his final poems, Annabel Lee, he alludes to his belief that here in the material world, the love and intimacy possible between man and woman is limited or constrained by his material existence. However, once released (through death and sometimes dreams) to the spiritual world, the earthly constraints are broken and the love and intimacy between man and his beloved are limitless and unfettered. This ideal of perfect unity between two souls was a concept he held most of his life but was never quite able to convey it until his final years.


06-17-2006, 06:05 PM
Thanks Tis.

My interpretation of the title is that 'a dream within a dream' is an impossible dream.

Since poe, in this poem, is expressing despair and hopelessness, I'm sure that not many will disagree with my thinking that the title 'A dream within a dream' signifies 'despair'. But I wondered why Poe was not content to simply say:

"All that we see or seem
Is just a dream"

Was it just for its rhythm that Poe chose to call it 'a dream within a dream'? "
A dream within a dream" surely is more rhythmic than "Just a dream".

But I wasn't content with the above conclusion because I thought there must be a logical mode of equating the dream within a dream to dispair.
With this in mind, I reasoned, like a scientist who knew the outcome of his experement beforehand, that if the 'dream' which is 'within a dream' is realized it will still remain a dream as hopelessly as ever. In other words a dream may come true but not a dream within a dream.

07-10-2006, 12:51 AM
the tell tale heart or black cat..cant decide

07-19-2006, 11:10 AM
Fall of the house of Usher is good, I also liked the so far not mentioned the pit and the pendulum. But I agree with stanislaw that his poems are better, and as you said the raven is the best!