Significance of symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe’s selected works
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Romantics emerged through creating a new wave in literature. They were more concern about the expression of feelings than reason. They found the classics somewhere stagnant at a particular point from where human passion and their elementary feelings are distant; sometimes absent. So, they focused specially on the subjects of man, love and nature in their writing. Romanticism has originated from the English literature. The English romantic poets Coleridge, Wordsworth and also German romantic philosophy shaped the way of American Romanticism. Individuality, personal freedom, presence of supernatural, celebration of simplicity, examination of the poet‟s inner feelings- these had become the major traits of English Romanticism. Gradually, it has spread its influence on American literature too. Authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman started to walk on the same road. They have preferred to write what they felt to write instead of only following their ancestors. As a result, a new genre has come out. Readers have got a new diversion of thinking process; their interpretations have got diversified paths. Among the American Romantics, Edgar Allan Poe is one of them. He has written not only about pure love, but also strongly focused the negativities of human life which are cannot be erased easily. Besides, having a tragic life of his own, Poe‟s writings got the vive of escapism, loss of love and horror and death. He has found that only death carries meaning of real truth as human beings are prone to face hardship in their lives. Such beliefs produced the works of „The Fall of the House of Usher‟, „The Tell-Tale Heart‟, „The Black Cat‟, „The Raven‟, „Annabel Lee‟ etc. In his works like „The Raven‟ and „Annabel Lee‟, we see that the heartache of a lover after the loss of his beloved keeps him in the trauma and the lover remains unable to get rid of his memory line. His dark and gloomy setting in „The Fall of the House of Usher‟ and „The Black Cat‟ have haunted his readers. Thus he has established scary feelings in readers‟ mind and also has made himself as a prominent gothic writer in the American literature. His main tool in creating such intense is the vast use of symbolism in his works. My focus of this paper is the significance of Poe‟s use of symbolism in his selected works- „The Fall of the House of Usher‟, „The Black Cat‟, „The Raven‟ and „Annabel Lee‟. The method which is followed in this work is descriptive and analytic, illustrating symbolism and discussing its use in the selected literary works. In order to make this dissertation conventional and well organized, the framework is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is a general introduction of literature, the author, gothic style and the period of romanticism. The second chapter focuses on symbolism, providing a set of theories: Whitehead (1927), Freud (2003), De Saussure (2009) etc. The third chapter is concerned with the literary analysis of symbolism used in Poe‟s selected short stories. The fourth chapter is about the analysis of symbols used in Poe‟s selected poems. And last but not the least; the fifth chapter is a conclusion of my dissertation where an overall brief discussion is given.