Q:

What is Edgar Allan Poe's "single effect" idea?

A:

Quick Answer

Poe's concept of a "single effect" applies to short stories, and basically states that every element of a story should contribute to a single emotional effect of the story. This rule was important, because Poe was the founder of the short story, and this consequently became a foundational rule of the genre.

Know More
What is Edgar Allan Poe's "single effect" idea?
Credit: Kevin Dooley CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Poe had a number of different criteria that contributed to the single effect of the short story, explains PoeMuseum.org. He believed short stories should be able to be read in one sitting. This often contributes to the story's effect by allowing the reader to experience the complete effect of the story all at once, rather than leaving the story and having to regain the feeling of being in the story after coming back. His stories strove for a unifying emotion that draws the story together. Although Poe's effect was nearly always horror, other effects are possible. Poe also believed the effect of the story should be obvious and felt by the reader, even in the first sentence of the story. Finally, Poe aimed for truth in human behavior. He often wrote of bizarre and impossible-seeming events with little to do with reality, but he believed the human reactions to these events should mirror how people would likely react.

Learn more about Poetry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the main themes of Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven"?

    A:

    The main themes of Edgar Allan Poe's narrative poem "The Raven" are undying devotion, loss and the lingering grief that cannot be diminished. The poem's narrator, a young man and presumably a student, is mourning the death of his lover, Lenore. Despite his attempts to lessen his grief through his studies and his pondering "many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore," he is wrenched back to his sorrow by a talking raven who repeatedly utters the famous refrain "nevermore," a painful reference to the fact that the narrator will never again be reunited with his beloved Lenore.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did Edgar Allan Poe's mother do for a living?

    A:

    Edgar Allan Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, was an English-born American actress. She died of tuberculosis on December 8, 1811, when Edgar was 2 years old. He was adopted and raised by John and Frances Allan.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Did Edgar Allan Poe cut off his ear?

    A:

    There is no viable proof that poet, Edgar Allan Poe, cut off his ear. Poe did attempt suicide in 1848, according to Listverse, and he died on Oct. 7, 1849 of unknown causes. The painter Vincent Van Gogh was an artist who actually did cut off his own ear.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How many books did Edgar Allan Poe write?

    A:

    According to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, American author and poet Edgar Allan Poe published in his lifetime one novel and three collections of his tales. His vast literary contributions include poems, stories, essays, sketches and letters.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore