The Masque of The Red Death
The Symbolism in The Masque of Red Death and Young Goodman Brown
Both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe belong to the late Romanticism in 19th century American Literature, which main characteristic is probably the widest disparity between tragic reality and romantic ideal. Such a gap could be observed in both short stories proposed for discussing in the current task, particularly noted in their closures when a grim denouement abruptly clashes with apparently classical fairy tale’s course of events.
At the level of questions, the heartbreaking conclusion of The Masque of the Read Death seems not to offer major difficulties at first sight, and yet the identity and significance of the title character left open and uncertain. Against all the traditions, and in close relation with the level of expectations, the reader’s confidence in Prince´s fair triumph is profoundly disappointed, as the final dismal picture leads to frustration and despair. In turn, the interpretation of “Young Goodman Brown” becomes a little bit more complex, as two plots could be distinguished there. And while the inner one seemingly resolves all the matters, the frame story does not provide a clear-cut interpretation. Despite the outstanding conviction of the character in the main story, he does not emerge as a winner after all: his spirit is overcome by discouragement, being very close to the blade of doom.
None of the stories satisfies traditional conventions and use the strategy of the ambiguous interpretation in order to wake up the reader’s moral criteria and their ability to co-creation. Instead of providing the final moral lesson in conclusion, both authors prefer to give some hints to elicit further reflection of the audience. Doing so, Hawthorne deliberately arouses suspicion as to questioning, after fulfilled with biblical allegories course of events, whether Goodman Brown had fallen asleep in the forest and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting (Hawthorne, 237). In turn, Poe breaks the atmosphere of pictorial mystery by intriguing remark with religious connotation while comparing the appearance of the man character to that of the thief at night (Poe, 291). With regard to this, closure of both works purposely clash the reader’s expectations. Reflecting the Calvinist background of Hawthorne, his “Young Goodman Brown” delivers clearer moral streak. For the story of The Masque of the Read Death are different interpretations available, none of them provided by Poe. Most would probably agree that the real closure of both works takes place in reader’s mind by converting reflection power into a key component of literary perception. The key role play here the text strategies used in the closure content and structure.
The Narrator’s Symbolism in Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death and Tell-Tale Heart
You know that feeling you get when you read or watch a scary story? Your heart is in your throat, you run for your life up the stairs thinking someone is chasing you, and when you can’t fall asleep at night type of feeling? For me, it’s not exactly an enjoyable sensation, but for some it is. But why do we love to scare ourselves so much? Is it because of the thrill we get, the satisfaction, or the natural high from the fight or flight response? This sensation I got while I was reading “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and “The Masque of the Red Death.” Poe was trying to use fear in his stories to attract us readers into the gothic world. Poe’s life had so much unhappiness, ever since his parent’s early death, from him being an adopted orphan, to his stepfather disowning him, and his wife who died a few years prior to their marriage. Because of his search for security and love, his life seems to have been an unsolved struggle; so too it isn’t surprising the way he chooses to write his stories, with such death, horror, fear, and madness. Death plays an important scene in almost all of Poe’s poems. Just like in “The Fall of the House of Usher” Roderick buries his sister alive and dies at the end with her too. “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator, who was a nameless murderer kills an innocent man because of his vulture eye. And everyone dies in “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Also, Poe’s settings in his poems emphasize a lot of mysterious dark gloomy surroundings throughout the stories to set up fear and to get us, the readers more involved. Then again, lots of people enjoy these scary situations because it makes you more confident. For example, I’ve been to many haunted houses and at first, my friends forced me into it, but once I made it through, I thought to myself “yes I did it! I made it out alive” which gave me a boost of self-esteem. Edgar Alan Poe’s poems had so much madness and horror because he wanted to capture the reader’s attention, or perhaps writing about death and fear gave Poe answers to his questions he has been looking for. Questions like, why his life was so hard, why his loved one had to die so soon, and why he was still alive and alone. Or maybe he even wrote these poems to escape from the world.
Great Master of Words and Intricate Plot in ‘The Masque of The Red Death’
After Edgar was kicked out of West Point he went to live with his Aunt and Cousin Virginia. His cousin was only 8 years old then. After he left them to work he Got news that Virginia would be sent away. In a Frantic state of mind he begins to drink and confesses his love for her in a letter to his Aunt. Soon they become married him 27 years old and Virginia only 13. They lied about her age and said she was 21. Their marriage is described to have been more like brother and sister rather than husband and wife. He adored her and was happy with her but 6 years into their marriage Virginia developed Tuberculosis and died five years later. Virginia was the fourth woman Poe had loved and died. While Virginia was sick Poe tried to make ends meet and write but became a drunk and could not afford to feed her or get her medicine. He wrote “The Raven” While she was sick but only made 14 dollars enough to move to a cottage. He embodied his eternal love for Virginia in the poem “Annabel Lee”. In an essay by Cynthia Bily analyzing the “Annabel Lee” poem by Edgar Allan Poe she points out all the hints that the poem is about his love for Virginia. She talks about how in the poem he writes about how the angels envied her and their love and the resentment Annabel’s kings men had about their relationship. There are clues that the angels were people in society that did not approve of their marriage and the kings men is the family members that did not approve as well. Cynthia believes that the purpose of the poem is not only to show the love they shared but to show the people that disapproved that their criticism and negativity did not stop or hinder their love for each other.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote many short stories. Although he wrote many detective stories one of his most famous short stories is “The Masque of the Red Death”. The story is about a Prince called Prince Prospero who is running away from and trying to avoid a sickness that is taking over and the country. He is trying to escape by locking himself in a castle with a thousand friends. He believes if he parties with his friends and has fun death will skip over him. Somehow the disease enters the castle and one by one everyone dies.
Poe was experienced with death and knew how death would come to everyone eventually it was just a matter of time. No matter what Poe did in his life death was always around taking people one by one like in the story. It is said that the Red Death stands for tuberculosis. All of the woman he loved and was close to die of this disease along with his brother. First his mother when he was 3, then his foster mother Mrs. Allan when he was 20, then his brother William when he was 22 and his loving wife and Cousin Virginia when he was 33. In the story the Ebony clock is mentioned and focused on. It is a symbol that death is always coming for you and time is ticking away. The colors of the rooms in the castle are symbolic to Poe’s progression in life. Blue represents birth, purple represents youth, green represents adolescence, orange represents adulthood , white represents old age, violet represents imminent death , and black represents death itself. In Tracy Caldwell’s analysis essay over “The masque of the Red Death” she goes in depth of the seventh room. The seventh room has the Ebony clock that represents time ticking away till death and the windows are stained red to represent blood. She goes into detail about how the Black room can also be a hint to the Black Death known now as the Plague. Most people believe that Edgar Allan Poe’s work had hints about the future such as the Plague.
Some of Edgar’s short stories and poems have a vague meaning to them. You have to think hard about them to see why he wrote it and how he used his own life for inspiration. One of those types of short stories is “The Pit and the Pendulum”. In this story the narrator is being tortured and imprisoned. He is thrown in a cell that has a giant pit located in the center. And given bread and water that has some drugs in it to make him sleep. When he regains consciousness he notices he is strapped to a table. He is offered food and soon sees rats coming to eat it. He stares at the ceiling to see a pendulum swinging back and forth above him gradually getting closer to his body. He was hopeful he would escape but still scared as he rubs the food on the straps and the rats chew the food and the straps freeing him. He is then put back into the cell and notices the walls are hot and moving closer to him forcing him closer the pit. Right before he falls into the pit the French General catches him and saves him informing him they have taken over the prison.
This story may seem like just a dark suspenseful story by Poe but it is really him explaining how he has felt in his life. At the start of his childhood he was alone and hopeless with his father leaving and mother dying. When he was adopted he felt imprisoned by Mr. Allan and his gruffness. He never felt loved by him only by Mrs. Allan. His first crush, Jane Stanard died when he was 15. She was the mother of a school friend and died of brain cancer. Whenever he was unhappy he would go to her for support. He wrote the poem “To Helen” about his love for her. He became depressed for a short time after her death resembling the prison. Thought his life he has been depressed and can never catch a break. He never earned a lot of money doing anything. While in college he went in debt of 2,000 dollars just for food and clothes. He tried gambling to make the money back but unfortunately never got good enough to make anything. He became a drunk to hide his shame from himself and make him forget everything going wrong. Kind of like the drugged water to make him forget how the cell was laid out and be unconscious while they move him to other areas. When he joined the Army, he used a different name so the debt collectors couldn’t find him and he published a book and soon was kicked out for neglecting his duties. He then published his second book while studying at west point but never made any money off of any publication. He was a prisoner of the lower class but was hopeful it would turn around like with the pendulum. Some say the breaking of the straps and the rats resembles how Virginia made him feel inside. Although he was in a terrible situation the rats helped him stay hopeful and saved his life. Even when his writing wasn’t going well or he was being hated by people because of his critiquing she was there for him to cheer him up and keep him hopeful things were going to get better. The cell collapsing on him with heated walls can symbolize the process of Virginia dying slowly with tuberculosis and her death. It was a long, hard process trying to make money and keep her alive. The general saving him is his death. He had nothing and no one to live for. Even after Virginia’s death he was trying to find a wife so he wouldn’t have to die alone. He was a drunken wreck and was finally at peace when he died. His dying words were God help my poor soul. Poe wrote about how glorious death would be and how he couldn’t wait to see the woman he loved again. Patricia Cohen wrote an article for the New York Times called “Poe’s Cottage, Weak and Weary No More.” In the article talks about how poor Poe was and even living in a cottage he couldn’t keep Virginia warm and fed. If he was alive now he would have had enough money to do anything he wanted. In the Magill Book Review they review the pain and torture the narrator went through but he still was calm though some of the issues he faced. He can’t always trust his senses and he figures that out when the room isn’t like he thought it was just like with Poe’s writings. He thought he was writing amazing work but the public thought it was too dark and hated it.
Although Poe’s wasn’t popular in his time he is one of the most popular writers of our time. It’s sad to think that even after “The Raven” was written that he got so little out of it. He only accumulated 6,200 dollars over his 18 years of writing. He did so much for literature and the education system that is active today. There is no doubt that Edgar Allan Poe’s life inspired his poems and stories. His life may have not been the base of everything that he has written but it is the reasoning behind a good amount of his writings.
Allegory As a Significant Device in The Masque of The Red Death Novel
The allegory within the Masque of the Red Death
Edgar Allen Poe was quite the gothic writer in the late 1800s and his work is still quite popular today amongst many. The short passage, “Masque of the Red Death” is an utmost example of a gothic fiction most commonly used by Poe. Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death” was published, in part as a tribute to a deadly plague which was deteriorating the country at the time but also in part as a story of how death affects each and every one of us from a very young age and that Death is the inevitable end to everyone. The story is as though Prince Prospero takes members of his kingdom and hides them away so as to not be affected by the plague that is terrorizing his kingdom but condemns them all the same. Symbolism is one of the most common ways to reveal an allegory in a work of literature. Throughout the story, the allegory is enforced by major personnel, in this instance, Prince Prospero, the abbey, including all seven rooms, the chiming clock and the masked figure all support the allegory by symbolizing certain instances in which the moral is supported.
Prince Prospero is a symbol as well as a contradiction within himself. He is described as prosperous and sagacious but he is in fact killed by the red Death and is not very intelligent because he attempted to take on the Red Death single handedly. The belief is also that Prospero could represent the idea that we become aware of death at a very young age. For instance, when he sees the masked figure to begin with, symbolizing death he is in a blue room, blue symbolizing his youth. In addition to that suggestion, Prospero can also symbolize the superiority that man sometimes thinks he/she has and the distinguishment between social classes. Prince Prospero thought that by separating himself and his guests from the rest of the kingdom, that he could somehow cheat death. Only people of the higher social class were thought worthy enough to escape the pestilence and the ball, which represents how Prospero viewed this class as being more important than any other. Prospero can also symbolize how out of touch the upper class was with the lower classes in society.
The abbey, is another excellent example of enforcing the allegory. According to H. H. Bell Jr. who believes Prospero is insane, “ Assuming that death, even the one that Prospero is trying to escape, is the wage of sin, there would be little allegorical objection to having Prospero seek refuge in in an abbey- a monastery.” (253) This meaning that having Prospero seek refuge in an abbey, symbolizes he is running from sin. Also, the detail that the abbey is secluded with only a way in and no way out suggests it’s a place of confinement and gives it a more threatening atmosphere which is a crucial piece of gothic literature. Within the abbey, each room is a different color and that symbolizes a different stage of life and way of living.The room they start off in, and in which they recognize Death is the blue room. Blue being a symbol for the youth of your life and suggesting that we recognize death at a young age. The second room is purple which is used to symbolize the higher society and class which it is distinguished that Prospero cares deeply for. The third room is green and it suggests prosperity and growth, which is ironic since he chases death throughout it. The fourth room is orange which symbolizes the prime of someone’s life, the autumn, where someone can be considered past his prime but not entirely old. The fifth room is white which symbolizes the past prime or elderly age of life. The sixth room is violet, a color that throughout most of literature symbolizes gravity and chastity and the soberness of extreme old age. It is said that the final room is black which symbolizes death.” (Bell 254) All of this symbolism poured into these rooms suggests that Prospero is chasing death throughout his life and yet is still bested by him.
The clock, within the story for some symbolizes the passing of time and how aware each person is of their own time continuously moving. When the clock chimes in the story, all of the guests fall silent as if startled or frightened that another hour has come to a close, but only within that chiming are they aware of the time that has passed. the clock is also used to symbolize the inevitability of death. Wheat talks about how death can not be contained or avoided, “as transitory as parts of a play”, so it is useless to try to hide from it or contain it. (252) In the story, the guest could not stop the clock from running or the pendulum from continuing its swinging back and forth with the chimes that continued to disrupt their party. As the chimes disrupt the party, it is as though every person is brought from a fairytale to face the reality of death looming about, just for a moment before being thrown back into the joyous thralls of the party once more.
Finally, the masked figure that abruptly interrupts the ball. The stranger behind the mask is Death itself. THe entire muse of a masked figure is allegorically symbolizing the disease infiltrating the solidarity of the abbey and the ball. Poe describes the figure as “tall, and gaunt” which suggests the stranger is in fact an actual physical representation of a person affected by the disease. The stranger symbolizes death embodied and yet when they remove his mask there is a great nothingness. Its as if to say, death has no defined form or shape to himself. The stranger also seems to be the common interpretation that it frightens the guests so much to be around him because they fear him and he reminds them of what and who they have forsaken just to preserve themselves for the sake of their class.
The masque of the red death contains imagery that upholds the story’s intended allegorical meaning, as well as imagery that is open to other personal interpretations. The allegory in Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’ is that no matter how lavish and thought out the attempts to escape Death are, once you recognize death at such that young age, it will be inevitable to do anything but chase him throughout the rest of your life. This allegory is proven throughout the vital ideas and characters in the story. Prince prospero, the abbey including all seven rooms, the chiming clock, and the masked figure each support the allegory present in the story through symbolism which is one of the most easily identifiable pieces of figurative language when creating an allegory within a story.
“The Masque of the Red Death”
The story begins with a description of a plague, the “Red Death,” which has been devastating the country for a long time. The narrator explains the process of the disease, emphasizing the redness of the blood and the scarlet stains. The disease is so deadly that one is dead within thirty minutes after he or she is infected. Poe uses such descriptive words like fatal, horror of blood, sharp pains, profuse bleeding, and victim creating an immediate effect of the horror of death caused by the “Red Death.” Poe then presents the tone of the story as Prince Prospero, a name that implies happiness and prosperity, summons a thousand of his “lighthearted friends” from the nobility to join him in a “castellated abbey” which has strong and lofty walls and “gates of iron.” The prince has very foresighfully provided entertainment of all types, and they are all happy and secure within, while outside the “Red Death” is violently spreading. Poe next shows us his theme by suggesting the recklessness of these foolish people who think that they can escape death by putting physical barriers between them and the plague. Poe also has a lot of symbolism in this story one of them being the last room. The importance of the seven rooms lies in the seventh.
The narrator describes the each rooms, telling us that the window panes look out onto the hall rather than the outside world, and that they take on the colors and hues of the decoration of each room. All the rooms are identified by color except for the last one which is different. In the last room (seventh) the apartment is “shrouded in black velvet,” but the panes are “scarlet — a deep blood-color.” Moreover, this black chamber is the most westerly and “the effect of the firelight upon the blood-tinted panes is ghastly in the extreme and produces so wild a look upon the countenance of those who enter it that there are few . . . bold enough to set foot within it.” Therefore, the significance of the seventh room cannot escape the reader’s attention. Black usually symbolizes death, and it is mostly used in connection with death. Furthermore, in describing the black decor of the room, the narrator says that it is shrouded in velvet, shrouded being a word always referring to death. When the masked “Red Death” makes his appearance, he moves rapidly from the Eastern room, symbolizing the beginning of life, to the Western room, symbolizing the end of life. “The Masque of the Red Death” had many devices but this four are in my opinion the most important ones.
The Significance of the Motif of Denial in The Masque of the Red Death, a Short Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Denial in “The Masque of the Red Death”
The motif of denial in “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe is important because it helps the reader understand how the prince and his guests can party while the rest of the world is dying. Their denial also makes their realization that they can’t escape the Red Death much more dramatic. One way the reader is shown their denial is when the story reveals that they believe “the external world could take care of itself” and “In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think” (1). The story also says that the abbey they take refuge in has “such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion” (1). In those lines the reader is shown that the prince and his guests choose to deny that the world is helpless and that despite being within the secured abbey they can still be infected by the Red Death.
The narrator says the “prince. . .provided all the appliances of pleasure” (1). Those pleasures serve to keep them busy and enable them to remain in denial of the horrendous situation. When a person goes in denial it’s because there’s a truth that to them seems so terrible they’d rather not accept it as a truth. Consequently, when the people see a man with the Red Death they’re deeply offended because they have now been reminded of the very truth that they deny, that regardless of being within the abbey, there’s still a chance they can contract the Red Death and die. Despite seeing this man, their denial goes so far that they prefer to believe the man wears a “mask” that’s “made. . . to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse” (4). The prince decides to deny the truth calling the supposed insinuation of the alleged masked figure, that the red death was inside the abbey, “blasphemous mockery” (4).
Therefore, in the end when the truth can no longer be denied and everyone realizes the Red Death is within the abbey, the people’s awakening is pricelessly dramatic. Without the motif of denial in “The Masque of the Red Death” the audience would not understand how the prince and his guests can party while the world falls apart, nor would they be treated to such a dramatic awakening.
Review of the Masque of The Red Death, By Edgar Allan Poe
Darkness that Surrounds the World
The world is wrapped in a thick, black veil that hangs anonymously above, coating the world in darkness. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Masque of the Red Death, published in 1842, Poe writes another gripping Gothic horror story describing this ever looming darkness. In this short story, Prince Prospero and thousands of his friends, lock themselves away in Prospero’s castle to escape a deadly pestilence. There is an extravagant party to forget the disease, and while the guests swirl about the ballroom, an unexpected visitor appears. This visitor embodies the sickness that Prospero tries to escape. Through symbolism, Poe contributes to a macabre mood filled with darkness and the stench of the ever approaching death. The symbols include; the rooms, the clock, and the uninvited guest.
The world in the Masque of the Red Death is infested with a sickness that threatens those who encounters it and Poe’s metaphors reflect this mood. Prince Prospero locks himself away to avoid such a tragic death. He puts on grand show in and even grander castle. Inside, it is a winding labyrinth with seven rooms of seven different colors. The first room is decorated entirely in blue. As partygoers wander room from room, the colors and decorations of each room also change. In the final room, an exception to all the rest is a black room where no light enters. In “this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet—a deep blood color” (2). The rooms begin with blue decorations, the color of birth, and end in black and blood red, the universal symbol for death. The rooms represent the path from birth to death. No light comes through any of the windows, because you cannot see what will happen in life. You travel along life in darkness until you reach the end. On the wing opposite of the winding halls from life to death, there lies a pendulum; a swinging clock counting down the days of life.
The very symbol of death can be found in a clock that is ticking, counting the days, the minutes, the seconds until live are taken. In Prospero’s castle there is a massive clock swinging a huge pendulum. Every hour the guests pause their celebration to listen to the chiming of this clock. When the sounds become silent, the people continue their foolish escapade. As the sound of the midnight hour becomes silent, “individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before” (3). The midnight hour marks the end of a day. It is the symbolic witching hour where ghastly creatures crawl from their hidden crevices. At the end, people see the mysterious man standing uninvited in their festivities. The time stops and the cloth over their eyes reveals the death that sits patiently by, waiting until there is no more time lift and it can drag you down to its domain.
Death is an unavoidable force that looms over all in many different forms and throughout all the years in existence. Prospero attempts to shield himself from the death and horror that dwells outside his pristine castle. Death cracks his boney fingers and climbs into the world of the living to take the lives of Prospero and his friends. For these people, death took on a form of person infected with the disease they feared the most; the Red Death. When he makes his appearance in the ballroom, “his vesture was dabbled in blood—and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror” (3). The figure first appears in the blue room, the room of birth. Even at the beginning of a life, death is present. Prospero follows death through each room, going through all the many stages of life. The figure stops at the black room, and Prospero falls dead. There is no escape to death. It is a constant presence that joins your life at birth and only makes a star appearance when it’s time to steal that life away.
Edgar Allan Poe uses items and people as a metaphor to contribute to horrifying and gruesome atmosphere. The corridors of Prospero’s mansion weave a complex maze that leads to darkness at the end. As time ticks away, the clock chimes until the very last hour when death will arrive to take its prize. Death is an intangible thing that is always present until it takes on a moral from and creeps up from the shadows to steals the very thing that kept death away. As the dark veil thickens with the inevitable truth of death, a light shines, but all lights are put out by the darkness that death carries on a black steed.
A Literary Analysis of My Favorite Novels Life of Frederick Douglass; An American Slave, Rip Van Winkle, and The Masque of the Red Death
Literature is one of the most enjoyable pieces of arts in life; therefore a brief adventure into my three Favourites and the least favourite topic of literature this term will show you how they magically blew my mind by exposing it to the beauty of literature. Therefore, this short analysis explores my favourites novels that is “ Life of Frederick Douglas; An American Slave, Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irvin and Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and three other novels that are not my favourite.
My Favourite Readings
Life of Frederick Douglas who is depicted as an American Slave, Rip Van Winkle and Poe’s Masque of the Red Death have been my best favourite reading topics of literature this term. The life of Frederick Douglas an American Slave is my favourite because it narrates a tale of survival against all odds underwent by Douglass in person and the rest of the slaves in the plantations during the dark era of slavery in America. He describes his birth associated with rape of his mother and the subsequent parentage which was robed form from early age. In addition, he categorically describes the prevailing conditions of slavery at the time as barbaric, cruel, inhuman and evil in the eyes of a race claiming to be civilised and next to God. For example, he describes the common practices and habits of the white slave masters as that of cruel torture and in humane treatment by assault, battery, murder, raping of black slave women for sexual satisfaction and the expansion of their slave numbers. He talks of the Christian religious hypocrisy of preaching water and taking wine to justify the white superiority over the black slaves for example as illustrated in his quote that he was hateful of the hypocritical nature of Christianity of the land as that of fraud and defamation of God. Throughout several chapters, he gives a vivid description of the horrors he faced from one slave master to the other and the ultimate escape to freedom (Douglass 10).
Rip Van Winkle is an American short story basing on European history, legends and myths. It is a story about a simple minded easygoing man called Rip who is a henpecked husband his nagging wife. Rip resides in the Catskill Mountains village. While hunting in the mountains Rip meets an explorer who intoxicates him voluntary and goes into a deep sleep only to wake up after twenty years have elapsed. On returning to his village, HE finds that things have changed for the worst (Donnelly 3). Therefore, the story is my favourite because it depicts a moral lesson that change is always inevitable and should be welcomed and those who stand in the way of change will always suffer the consequences.
Lastly, the story of Poe’s Masque of the Red Death is my last favourite. It is a short story of fantasy where Prospero prince and other wealthy nobles hide in their abbey in an attempt to eliminate a plague called red death. The prince with other nobles organise a masquerade ball where unfortunately the prince and other guests die after a disguised mysterious figure called red death attacks them when the prince confronted it. It’s my favourite because it illustrate how it is the common nature of people try to mystify certain diseases as associated with evil, yet it is not (Poe 3).
The Least Favourite Readings
A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson is one of the least favourites. Rowlandson as American woman at the era of colonialism was kidnapped after being captured by the native Indians during an attack. She was held captive for 11 weeks. She explains her ordeal events that she saw and experienced during her captivity until her ultimate results. The story is my least favourites because it was written in the first person narration, partly objective because the writer describes her feelings and thoughts thus making the story emotional and very boring (Rowlandson 2).
The second story is the Narrative of Cabeza deVaca. It describes the travelling adventures of Cabeza as the first European to travel on foot across North America. On the course of his travelling he acted as a faith healer to the natives and a trader. He further gives a vivid description of the native America that is the culture, traditions and way of life before, and during colonisation era. It is my least readings because of it anthropological historical accounts that are not captivating and enjoyable to me (Cabeza 2).
Lastly of the least readings is the Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. It is a story of Equiano on how he was captured into slavery first as a slave for his fallow African and then his journey through the trans-Atlantic slave trade route to the new world of America. He describes the cruelty of the travelling on the ships packed and piled like wood. The story is not all that touching as it was written through imagination and research (Equiano 4).
Personal Impact of Masque of the Red Death
Masque of the Red Death, written by Bethany Griffin, is, as the title suggests, based on the work of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. It follows a girl named Araby Worth, and shows us how life has become in her city during a plague. Society has crumbled, and Prince Prospero is at the head of it all, holed away in his castle as the city slowly dies.
Araby’s father has given the world its only hope in the form of masks which are able to block the contagion, but the prince restricts their production, and refuses to let him fix an error which only allows each mask to work for the first person who breathes through its filter. Araby herself is suffering from a deep depression brought on by the death of her twin brother, Finn, due to the prince sending soldiers out to murder the sick. Due to his death, she has sworn never to experience any pleasure that he didn’t get to. This includes everything from holding hands to kissing. Her best friend, April, the prince’s niece, is the only one who knows most of the details of this vow, and wants to get her to break it and live. Part of her efforts to do this is to take Araby to a club owned by Prospero, the Debauchery District. Their visits eventually lead to Araby getting to know a bouncer named Will that works at the club, and later, April’s brother, Elliott. This book has certainly had an impact on me, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I would change about it.
This book has made it clear to me that any sort of story can become a published work, whether it be an idea triggered by some other work or not. It is obviously heavily based on Poe’s work, but it brings so much of its own charm and ideas to the table that it is truly its own creature. It was the first novel I’ve read in a long while that I truly felt myself losing track of time because of how absorbed I was with the story. This was, at least, until the last 60 or so pages. The ending of the book, while not terribly confusing in its composition, seemed rushed. There are two kissing scenes that leave relationships in a tangled state by the time it ends, as they occur between Araby and Will, and Araby and Elliott respectively. This, coupled with the fact that the entire book spends its time pulling you towards wanting Araby to end up with Will, only to have Will betray her by getting her captured by the leader of a revolution (Reverend Malcontent), and then be immediately forgiven, makes the ending seem jumbled compared to the rest of the story. To add onto the confusion, Araby is almost killed because of Elliott’s actions at least thrice during the story, and he tells her multiple times not to trust him, but you’re suddenly supposed to believe Araby would return his feelings by the end? I would change the ending to eliminate all this confusion by having Araby captured by the reverend by some means other than Will betraying her, as well as removing the kiss between her and Elliott. This would give the plotline a much neater conclusion than what it has now, without removing the ability to lead into its sequel.
I loved most of the book, and am happy that I read it, but I do not think it could ever become a true classic. The way I define a classic book is something that everyone, even people who haven’t read it, knows about. The reason I could never think of this book being that? Its title, which has not tried to differentiate itself from the material it is based on in the slightest, a material that is a classic. This leads me to believe that this book could never get out of that shadow, as sad as it is. I would definitely love for it to become a popular example of what it is, a fan-work turned published novel, but I don’t know whether it would achieve that or not.
In conclusion, Masque of the Red Death is an excellent example of what inspiration can do for an author. It had the personal impact on me of making it clear that any sort of idea you would want to write about can become a novel with work. Despite this, the story still has flaws that could have easily been avoided, and the deep connection it has to the existing Edgar Allan Poe story could be what holds it back from being a classic.