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September 21, 2006

Laura's quote commentry on "The Murders in the Rue Mourge"

Laura Gallagher
Section 004

[Dupin]boasted to me, with a low chuckling laugh, that most men, in respect to him, wore windows in their bosoms, and was wont to follow up such assertions by direct and very startling proofs of his intimate knowledge of my own. His manner at these moments was frigid and abstract; his eyes were vacant in expression; while his voice, usually a rich tenor, rose into a treble which would have sounded petulantly but for the deliberateness and entiie distinctness of the enunciation. (Reu Mourge p.401)

The first sentence illustrates Dupin's self confidence in his own powers of observation and insight to other people's lives. The narator says Dupin "boasted... with a low laugh" that most people "wore windows in their bosoms." The narrator then relates Dupin's manner. With vivid descriptions such as "frigid and abstract" and how his voice "rose into a treble" it is clear how Dupin becomes excited when displaying his prowess though this is not explicitly stated. These specific descriptions of Dupin make his character come out of the words and into the imagiation.

Posted by lacaga at September 21, 2006 09:02 PM

Comments

I'm not sure if Dupin became excited whenever he talked about his ability to "see into" other people or if Poe was just referring to those moments when Dupin would use the narrator to display his talents. I found it very interesting that in the beginning of his explanation, Dupin was speaking with a "low chuckling laugh" and then would later develop into the frenzied excitment. This contrast really brings out the different sides of Dupin's personality.

Posted by: samlily at September 24, 2006 09:23 PM

Dupin claims that he can "see" into the intimate places that most people expect are hidden. The way he acts when he alleges this is cold;it is as if he is absent from himself. In this respect, it seems as if Poe is paralleling the way Dupin sees other people to the way the reader sees Dupin. The change in his expression and his voice gives the impression that Poe wanted Dupin to "leave" for a moment so that the reader could see into his true character, his self-confidence, and the mechanical demeanor he uses when solving mysteries.

Posted by: romie at September 24, 2006 10:07 PM

I agree with you that this quote gives the reader a lot of information about Dupin's personality. His arrogance in his own ablities is depicted in the first line not only by "[Dupin] boasted to me with a low chuckling laugh," but also by saying that "most men wore windows in their bosoms" when compared to him. This shows that Dupin isn't modest and doesn't worry about seeming arrogant. The fact that Dupin would follow his assertions with "startling" examples of intimate knowledge of the author also goes to show that he enjoys admiration from others (or at the very least from the narrator). In addition I think that because of the vivid descriptions of "frigid and abstract" and "rose in treble" the reader's attention is drawn to Dupin's special knowledge and makes them seem important. This is true because it is clear that Dupin finds such knowledge important.

Posted by: monikade at September 24, 2006 10:13 PM

Laura,

To me, the passage seems to suggest the intellectual pleasure that Dupin takes in this. He does not however abandon himself to this pleasure, but maintains his self-control, retaining the "abstract" character of his manner.

-Sayan.

Posted by: bhattach at September 25, 2006 02:46 AM

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