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September 22, 2006

Monika's Commentary on "Murders in the Rue Morgue"

"Our seclusion was perfect. We admitted no visitors. Indeed the locality of our retirement had been carefully kept a secret from my own former associates; and it had been many years since Dupin had ceased to know or be known in Paris. We existed within ourselves alone." (pg 401)

This quote nicely explains the narrator and Dupin's mutual enjoyment of their shared isolation. By using the word "perfect," the narrator conveys that their state of social isolation was something that they had wanted and planned out. The next sentence "We admitted no visitors," reiterates the fact that the state of their seclusion was by choice. As well as creating an image of a restful hideaway, the word "retirement" tells us that their hideaway leaves them a sense of peace and quiet away from the busy world which (perhaps) allows them to engage in their mental analysis of the mysteries occurring around them. Finally, the last sentence suggests (and is proved in the story) that both men enjoyed taking in observations and internally analyzing them.

Posted by monikade at September 22, 2006 02:37 PM



I think the passage also reinforces Dupin's isolation from society, and thus his status as an "outsider", who therefore always thinks in a way different from the conventional way (he thinks very unlike the way the police think for example). Maybe his proclivity to think "outside the box", so to speak, comes from his outsider status...?


Posted by: bhattach at September 25, 2006 02:18 AM


I enjoyed your analysis of this passage. I think that it's also interesting to explore how this shared isolation fits into the context of the story. These characters find enjoyment in their isolation, which is actually a direct reflection of their personalities; namely, the enjoyment that they get from analysis. Poe often stresses the internal as somehow more powerful than the external, and I feel that this passage indirectly reiterates this point.

Posted by: burkmar at September 25, 2006 09:41 AM

Further comments from Sayan:

Please remember that one of the things you are encouraged to do in these close readings is to think of interesting parallels that you notice between what's going on in the passage and what's there elsewhere in the text and/or in the larger theme of the text as a whole.

Along those lines: This passage also reminds me of the narrator's description, elsewhere, of how they (he and Dupin) were fascinated by the night. Night would presumably have provided them with the same dark cloak of anonymity and seclusion that they seem to be described as seeking in this passage...

Posted by: bhattach at October 2, 2006 09:00 PM

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