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September 18, 2006

Charina's Quote Commentary on Poe

Charina Hansen
Sect. 004

"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allan Poe

"I seemed to be upon the verge of comprehension, without power to comprehend-as men, at times, find themselves upon the brink of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember." pg. 421

When the narrator says this passage, the reader quickly assumes a feeling of mutual understanding. The simile that Poe utilizes in this passage exactly reflects the sentiments of the reader as they read through not only "the Murders in the Rue Morgue" but also through any detective novel. The detective novel is written in such a way as to present all of the clues to the mystery up front, but then reveal how they fit together or their significance as the story progresses. Here, specifically, in "the Rue Morgue" mystery, Dupin's logic is a bit harder to follow than on may be used to. Most detective novels methodically go through each piece of evidence, then they solve the mystery. In Dupin's case, though, this is not true. He jumps to a conclusion, then proceeds to explain how he got to it by then methodically detailing the clues. Due to this behavior, the reader (and the narrator) are more so left with the feeling of almost being able to understand, but not quite.

Posted by charina at September 18, 2006 10:36 PM


Like the structuring of the short story itself, Dupin also seems to arrive at his solution in an unusual manner. In the short story, all of the various first hand experiences are given one after the other. As far as plot, the story is almost at a stand still for its entire duration. The accounts of what happen continue ad nauseum up until Dupin readies his solution. Then, of course, he again retells what occured filling in the various vagaries that had not been touched upon by the other accounts.

Posted by: glittler at September 24, 2006 07:11 PM

Sayan's comments

Charina, the main problem with this commentary is that you haven't really done a close reading of the passage, but merely done am elaboration/explanation of the passage. You should focus more concretely on the passage itself. For example, you identified a comparison (it's not a simile, by the way -- just a comparison) in the passage, but what about the metaphors ("verge", "brink")? "On the verge" suggests reaching something, whereas "brink" suggests falling, a loss of control.

I also think that this passage may simply not have been a particularly interesting passage to comment on. You may want to try to identify interesting passages for writing quote-coommentaries on, so that you have enough "meat" to write about.

Posted by: bhattach at October 3, 2006 11:13 PM

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