Poe’s Death- Watches and the Architecture of Doubt: Summary

In this article, the author, Kim Drain, explains the unique literary style of the poet Allan Edgar Poe. The author begins this article by recounting his daunting task of memorizing Poe’s poem “The Raven”. It is through the analysis of this poem, coupled with the enlightening dream that he had, that Kim Drain realized the main literary style of the poet Poe. According to Kim Drain, Poe’s literally style is architectural in nature. Drain argues in this article that architecture is the literary device that Poe uses to relay his intended message.

Through the dream of the extraordinarily decorated cobweb that hung menacingly over the cake that he watched over, Kim Drain got the insight that the main them in many of Poe’s works is the destructive nature of human beings’ architecture, which comes to destroy the living, Drain says the following in the article, “As in my dream, the architecture in Poe’s stories often comes alive to destroy the living”. The dream, therefore, helped Drain to realize that the main idea in many of Poe’s works is the idea that, many of the structures that we create in order to contain reality, for instance, our architecture, might someday boomerang on us and destroy us.

Kim Drain gives a number of examples of how the theme of the destructive nature of human architecture is found in Poe’s works. The following are the three main examples that Drain uses to show how this common theme runs throughout many of Poe’s work. The first example is the torture chamber in the “Pit and Pendulum”, the second example is the masonry wall in the “Black Cat”, and the third example is the bedroom floor in the “The Tell-Tale Heart”.

In the analysis of Poe’s works, Kim Drain argues that a closer look at Poe’s works reveals that buildings, which of course are architectural works, are a rich expression of material reality in Poe’s works. The drain goes on to argue that material reality expressed through architecture in Poe’s works is something he invested with spiritual or even moral significance. Drain argues in this article that his critical analysis of Poe’s works has revealed to him that the way Poe conceived the world and expressed it through his writings is purely architectural, Drain says, “But even the way Poe Worked, I mean the way he looked at the world and then transfigured what he saw into the stuff of stories, and poems, has come to seem to me architectural in its character”. Drain quotes Poe himself saying that in composing his work, “The Raven”, he followed a unique method of proceeding step by step until he completed it; this method of composition is unique and unknown by many authors. The method of proceeding step by step in composing a literally work is by nature architectural. This fact shows that Kim Drain had an architectural view of reality.

In his further analysis of Poe’s literary works, Drain argues that Poe had a broad view of poetry. This is because, for Drain, Poe used different terms to describe the artist’s struggle. In Drain’s views, Poe could attribute the term artist to anyone who made creative work that he/she dearly valued. For Poe, in Drain’s views, a work of art has the following four features: unity, simplicity, cohesion, and simplicity. According to Drain, this view of the work of art by Poe reinforces the view that Poe had an architectural view of reality.

Work Cited
Drain, K. “Poe’s Death- Watches and the Architecture of Doubt”. London: New England
Review

You Might Also Like