What makes a short story great? Great characters? A great plot? Whatever it is, it does not have as much time to develop as a novel does. However, in limited space, author Edgar Allan Poe creates a brilliant, suspenseful, and brain wracking story. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” begins by comparing the analytical mind to the game of chess. Eventually, Poe ties in the occurrences of a bizarre incident with a flashback to 18–. Through analyzing the scene and using clues and witnesses’ testimonies, a character of great analytical power solves a murder mystery that no one else can even remotely get a grasp on.
The story may sound ordinary at first, but upon the completion of the novel, a doubtful reader can change his mind. Edgar Allan Poe’s utilization of different literary and writing techniques and his unique development of the story allow readers to indulge in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. The story is set in first person where an unnamed narrator serves as a character that exists for the sole reason of illustrating the abilities of Dupin’s mind. Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin is the main problem solver of the story, a gentleman from an aristocratic family but is reduced to poverty. As the narrator tells the story, certain thought processes are kept from the reader until L’Auguste Dupin reveals the facts.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
The reader only sees and knows the facts the investigators and narrators do. In doing so, the story is more suspenseful of the reader, and the conclusion takes the reader by surprise. The narration is broken up into paragraphs of various lengths, all of which contain long and detailed sentences. Each sentence is full with fragments and clauses with unique and comprehensible wording. When describing an analyst’s intellect, the narrator says, “Deprived of ordinary resources, the analyst throws himself into the spirit of his opponent, identifies himself therewith, and not unfrequently sees thus, at a glance, the sole methods (sometimes indeed absurdly simple ones) by which he may seduce into error or hurry into miscalculation.
” The sentence is long, using clauses and parentheses. It also relays the point to the reader even though it is more roundabout than a simple statement.Clearly, the narrator’s writing style differs from another kind used in the short story, what was written in the newspaper, “Pauline Dubourg, laundress, deposes that she has known both the deceased for three years, having washed for them during that period. The old lady and her daughter seemed on good terms-very affectionate towards each other.
They were excellent pay. Could not speak in regard to their mode or means of living. Believed that Madame L. told fortunes for a living.
Was reputed to have money put by. Never met any persons in the house when she called for the clothes or took them home. Was sure that they had no servant in employ. There appeared to be no furniture in any part of the building except in the fourth story.” The account of Pauline Duborg is short and concise, relaying the point quickly and clearly so the reader is efficiently shown the observed incidents. However, the narrator’s speech and wordy sentences add to the story, because the sentences are erudite and sound as if an intellectual person is speaking.
Even though the narrator is not the analyst Dupin appears to be, the reader sees the story is thoughtful and difficult to understand. The unconventionally crafted sentences reflect Dupin’s unconventional ways of thinking. Some sentences are straightforward and succinct, but most contain sentences made to trick the reader into thinking the wording is elaborate, similar to Benjamin Franklin’s writing style in “The Sale of the Hessians”. Also evident in Poe’s other works, there are French words in italics, almost all of which are decipherable upon reading. The words bizarrie and gendarmes appear in the text meaning outlandish and guards, respectively, The context of the words reveal the meanings easily.
The allusions Poe incorporates into the story also add to the quality of the story. Because the setting is 19th century Paris, France, the narrator is constantly tying in French words, famous places, or famous plays into his speech. The Fauborg St. Germain, Theatre des Varietes, Chantilly, Crebillon’s tragedy, Xerxes, and Epicurus are all referred to in the story.
The educated reader can enjoy that Xerxes was a character in a play and also a character in history, and Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher. Most allusions of the book are not important to the overall understanding of the story and events.The descriptiveness of the narration is contributed to by the allusions as well as the figures of speech used.
An obvious simile in the story is used for the comparison between analytical intellect and chess, “Yet to calculate is not in itself to analyze. A chess-player, for example, does the one without effort at the other.”.