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Symbolism in Literature - Book Report/Review Example

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Edgar Allen Poe often wrote about the premature burials and intentional live entombments. While there were very real concerns during his time period about these sorts of events happening, these events can also be seen as being symbolic of being trapped in one's own mind…
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Symbolism in Literature

Download file to see previous pages... In this way nature can be seen as an important theme for authors to explore as in enables them to escape the madness of society and their own minds.
The narrator of "The Cask of Amontillado" shows himself to be a man trapped in his own mind. He devises a plan to entomb the other character in the story, Fortunato, because he was insulted. He even finds his own way to justify it to himself: "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge" (Poe 473). Without knowing exactly what Fortunato had done to him, we must take clues from the text to determine what we are supposed to understand about the Montressor. For being insulted, Montressor has decided to bury Fortunato alive; if the insults and injuries had been that serious, we would expect to have Montressor list these various offenses in an attempt to justify his actions: "The narrator, Montressor, is one of the supreme examples in fiction of a deluded rationalist who cannot glimpse the moral implications of his planned folly" (Garango 667). While Montressor is trapping Fortunato in a tomb, it becomes more and more apparent that Montressor is trapped within his own mind. Whatever Fortunato had said to him, he apparently obsessed over it over and over again in his mind. Only a person suffering from some sort of insanity could behave in the way that Montressor is. While Fortunato is the one physically trapped, it is apparent that Montressor is still trapped in his mind as he is still obsessing over the event of the story fifty years later: "For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them" (478).
Roderick Usher from "The Fall of the House of Usher" is another character who physically traps somebody while remaining trapped in his own mind. When the narrator meets with his childhood friend, he finds him to be in a state or terror: "I shall perishI must perish for this deplorable follyI dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results" (Poe 482). Though his sickly sister has apparently died, Roderick is obsessed with making sure that he does not entomb her alive. "The brother had been led to his resolutionby consideration of the unusual character of the malady of the deceased" (486 Poe). Without an apparent reason to worry about a premature entombment, it becomes apparent that Roderick is simply trapped in his own mind, which is the only reason a person could be obsessed with something so bizarre. At the end of the story the house collapses upon the two Ushers, firmly entombing them within their house that could have been a part of their madness: "My brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder-there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters-and the deep dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the 'House of Usher'" (Poe 491).
To escape all of the entrapments that befall people in society, turning to the wide open spaces of the outdoors is an obvious choice. Robert Frost explores various aspects of freedom and choices in "The Road Not Taken." The speaker of the poem contemplates uses nature and a diverging path to metaphorically stand for choices in life that take people to different outcomes: "Yet not knowing how way leads on to way,/ I doubted if I should ever come back" (14-15). The narrators in Poe's stories do not seem to have had any choice in their actions; ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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