The Life Of Edgar Allen Poe English Literature Essay

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Many people know about the famous poet, Edgar Allen Poe. He is widely known for his strict editing and his short stories as well as his famous poems. Some people dislike like his poetry because of the depressing and death related themes. However, most people don't know that Edgar led a very depressing life and that his poems reflect parts of his life. He writes such depressing poetry because he had such a unfortunate childhood and a hard time as an adult.

Many people don't know of them, but Edgar had two siblings. Henry and Rosalie Poe were his older brother and younger sister. They were all separated a few years after birth when he was only three years old. His mother and father, Elizabeth and David Poe, got divorced, soon after the children were born.

"Poe's parents were both actors. His father was studying to be a lawyer but met Elizabeth and joined an acting troupe and married her. His father was not a good actor and also drank and didn't support his family. His mother tried t get money to feed her family but died of tuberculosis"

He never heard form David after the divorce. Elizabeth tried to raise the children on her own but died soon after and the three children were all split up. Poe's older brother, Henry, got taken in by his grandparents. Rosalie was adopted by a different family. Edgar had been separated form his biological family.

Edgar was taken in by Mr. and Mr. John Allen. John was a successful and wealthy tobacco merchant so Poe was able to go to the best schools and had good teachers. Poe started going to school when he was six years old. He went to school for five years in England and learned Latin and French. Those both proved to be very helpful when he began his poetry and editing career.

"….his imagination carried him away from the material world and into a dreamland"

After that Edgar wanted to move onto a better school.

"Even though John Allen had plenty of money, he only gave Edgar a third of what he needed…..he started to drink heavily and became in debt. He had to quit school less than a year later"

He continued going to schools to further his studies and John Allen continued helping him pay for them.

"After attending schools in England and Richmond, young Poe registered at the University of Virginia on February 14, 1826, the second session of the University. He lived in Room 13, West Range. He became an active member of the Jefferson Literary Society, and passed his courses with good grades at the end of the session in December. Mr. Allan failed to give him enough money for necessary expenses, and Poe made debts of which his so-called father did not approve. When Mr. Allan refused to let him return to the University, a quarrel ensued, and Poe was driven from the Allan home without money. Mr. Allan probably sent him a little money later, and Poe went to Boston. There he published a little volume of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems. It is such a rare book now that a single copy has sold for $200,000.00"


Edgar's headmasters also had opinions on how they should have raised him differently for a better turn out.

"Rev. John Bransby, His headmaster said "….and would have been a very good boy had he not been so spoiled by his parents" who" allowed him an extravagant amount of pocket money which, enabled him to get in all manner of mischief"

-Symons II

Once Edgar was nineteen years old, he decided to join the army. He signed up in Boston on May 26, 1827.

He was promoted to Sergeant-major under the name Edgar A. Perry. After two years of service, he and Mr. Allan got him a discharge.

".….joined he US Army in 1827. He was 19…. In 1892 Mrs. Allan died and John Allan tried to be friendly towards Edgar and signed applications to West Point Academy."

He attended West Point and went there for a few years but then he wanted to drop out.

"It is thought that Edgar purposely broke the rule and ignored his duties so he would be dismissed"

He then went on to go live with his aunt, Mrs. Maria Poe. He got a job in Richmond Virginia.

"Poe was dismissed from his job in Richmond, apparently for drinking….drinking was in fact to e ethe bane of his life."

Poe's writing began to get more and more depressing after that because he had dropped out of school and had little to no job skills. He was also drinking heavily.

"Edgar Allen had no money, no job skills, and had been shunned by John Allen"

Poe had become a very bad drinker and he began to have it reflect in his poetry and the way he lived his life. He and John Allan had a falling out and they never really communicated after the Army and West Point.

"……Much of Poe's best work is concerned with terror and sadness….."

Poe's depressing life and drinking began to take over his life and caused him to become suicidal.

"Poe suffered from bouts of depression and madness, and he attempted suicide in 1848"

Poe really tried to make up with John Allan and get over his depression and alcoholism towards the end of his life.

"He stayed at the Swan Tower Hotel but joined "the sons of Temperance" in an effort to stop drinking"

Poe's depressing life and heavy drinking led to his death Sunday, October 7, 1849. Edgar was unconscious when they found him, and they rushed him to a hospital and that is where he died. You can tell he was sorry for the way eh lived his life because the last words he breathed were "Lord, Help my poor soul".

Places cited

"Edgar Allan Poe, short stories, tales, and poems." Edgar Allan Poe, short stories, tales, and poems. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.

"Facts On File Online Databases." Facts On File Online Databases. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.

ron. "Neurotic Poets - Neurotic Poets - The Link Between Creativity And Madness." Neurotic Poets - Neurotic Poets - The Link Between Creativity And Madness. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.

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