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September 18, 2006

Jenny's Quote Commentary on "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"

Jenny Long
Section 004
The Murders in the Rue Morgue

“Now, brought to this conclusion in so unequivocal a manner as we are, it is not our part, as reasoners, to reject it on account of apparent impossibilities. It is only left for us to prove that these apparent ‘impossibilities’ are, in reality, not such.”

This quote allows Poe to express the intuitive and methodological considerations taken by Dupin which provide him with the ability to solve the case of the murders. Rather than abandoning the case due to the impossible nature of its occurrence, Dupin takes into account seemingly obvious conclusions deserted by the police as a result of their apparent irrelevance to the solution. What seems so illogical and impossible to the police is exactly what is supplies Dupin with an ‘unequivocal’ conclusion. Poe effectively begins to define the structure of mystery writing with the series of stories (method) Dupin uncovers and explains in order to reject these ‘impossibilities’ and thus discover ‘whodunnit.’

Posted by jennlong at September 18, 2006 08:44 PM



Your comparison of Dupin's method of mystery-solving with the actual structure of the mystery is great - the logical, rational, and systematic deduction, arrangement, and stratification of fact, language, and observable "data" is a very cool analogy. We, as readers, are able to come to conclusions and to follow the data laid out by Poe just as Dupin is able to solve a mystery based on this data. Although it may convoluted to establish a relationship, or to establish meaning between the implications of a fictional universe with logical, structured systems which can be employed in daily life, your commentary on the quote, and the work as a whole in the context of Poe's own endeavor is fascinating!


Posted by: emmorris at September 23, 2006 09:07 PM

I think your quote analysis is both interesting and thought provoking. Your ability to connect what is being expressed in the story to Poe’s work in creating a new genre of mystery writing shows you have a thorough understanding of both Poe’s storytelling and his contribution to literature. I was also thinking you could connect this passage to the reader’s thought process of figuring out the mystery while reading. The murder may seem impossible to solve, but Dupin’s deductions make the “impossibilities” not so.


Posted by: linzsmit at September 24, 2006 08:21 PM

Comment by Sayan

Please remember that one of the things that you are supposed to do in quote commentaries is to trace the connection between the particular passage you are commenting, and the larger theme(s) of the text, that is, to show, if you can, how things in the passage reflect things that are happening elsewhere in the text, or in the text as a whole.

Here, for example, we see an illustration of both the "mathematical/calculating" and the "poetic/intuitive" modes of thinking that, in Dupin's view, constitute "analysis". The language of the passage is that of calculative rationality: "reasoners", "unequivocal conclusion", etc. But simultaneously the passage also hints at the intuitive/thinking-outside-the-box quality of Dupin's thinking, when he "transforms" the problem, so to speak, from accounting for "apparent impossibilities" to proving that the apparent impossibilities "are, in reality, not such."

Posted by: bhattach at October 3, 2006 01:28 AM

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