September 22, 2006

Marquita'a Quote Commentary on William Wilson

"The teeming brain of childhood requires no external world of incident to occupy or amuse it; and the apparently dismal monotony of a school was replete with more intense excitment than my riper youth has derived from luxury, or my full manhood from crime." (Poe, William Wilson pp. 340-341)

The narrator tells of his schooldays before fully delving into the mystery of the story. The first sentence emphasizes the power of the brain, and specifically it's role as stimulus, and perhaps even entertainment. The fact that the brain "requires no external world" places the focus on the internal, which later reflects Wilson's own internal struggle with the "other William Wilson". The phrases "dismal monotony" and "intense excitement" are set up in opposition; paralleling an opposition central to the story, namely that of the title character in opposition with his own conscience (the other William Wilson). This opposition is made apparent throughout the story, as all of the underhanded attempts of William Wilson are foiled- at the hands of his antagonist. Luxury is paired with crime in such a way that they are almost made synonymous: in childhood, excitement is said to stem from luxury; in manhood that same excitement (for the narrator) stems from crime.

Posted by burkmar at 01:06 PM | Comments (4)

September 21, 2006

Sam's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" Commentary

"But, without educated thought, he erred continually by the very intensity of his investigations. He impaired his vision by holding the object too close. He might see, perhaps, one or two points with unusual clearness, but in so doing he, necessarily, lost sight of the matter as a whole." -The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Pg. 412

In the beginning of this quote, Dupin sets up a sort of a relationship between the other detective’s (Vidocq’s) errors and his intensity. Typically, we think of intensity as being of great help to an investigation but here, Dupin considers Vidocq’s sort of intensity as lacking in “educated thought? and therefore causing him to fail to solve the puzzle. As a person can not see the words on a page very well if the book is held too close to the face, Dupin argues that Vidocq’s ability to figure out what happened in a case was impaired by looking too closely at the case piece by piece, rather than stepping back. Dupin gives him credit in a sense because he recognizes that Vidocq was probably able to see some details very vividly but then goes back to his argument that it is often the big picture that really matters. I found this a little bit ironic, however, because in the end, Dupin solves the mystery of the murders by looking at the information very, very closely piece by piece and then using those pieces to put the big picture together. Perhaps he was able to get away with it where Vidocq was not because of his “educated thought? in looking at the details.

Posted by samlily at 11:46 PM | Comments (4)

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 09:02 PM | Comments (4)

Grant's Quote Commentary on The Murders in Rue Morgue

"Had the routine of our life at this place...that infinity of mental excitement which quiet observation can afford" (Poe 401).

The closeness of the narrator and Dupin in this passage struck me as one of the most compelling aspects of this short story. Upon my first reading of this passage, I was inclined to feel this was almost a homosexual relationship between the two. The two walked "arm in arm" down the street. Even the first sentence, "Had the routine of our life at this place been known to the world, we should have been regarded as madmen," alludes to a lifestyle not accepted in the 1800's. And although the glue of this relationship appears to be intellectualism, the words describing seem more apt to describe a love affair. Words like, "freak of fancy," "enamored," and especially the phrase, "giving myself up to his wild whims with a perfect abandon," lend more to a love affair then a mental marriage.
However, that is only one interpretation. These two characters seem SO close, Poe could very well be representing himself as two parts. The two appear as two perfectly contrary parts. Duping being collected, confident,and cocky while the narrator is inquisitive and slower. Poe also makes sure to make "life" singular in the first sentence as opposed to being their lives.

Posted by glittler at 06:06 PM | Comments (2)

September 19, 2006

Marquita's Quote Commentary

"But it is in matters beyond the limits of mere rule that the skill of the analyst is evinced. He makes, in silence, a host of observations and inferences. So, perhaps, do his companions; and the difference in the extent of the information obtained lies not so much in the vailidity of the inference as in the quality of the observation." Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, pp. 398-399

In this passage, Poe speaks of the difference between calculation and analysis. He claims that the attainment of knowledge is not in itself difficult; the difficuly is in knowing what knowledge to attain. In this detective story, Dupin exemplifies the reality of this statement in his power of observation. Though the police and various witnesses are able to collect knowledge just as well as another, it is only Dupin that possesses the analytical genius to collect the data appropriate to solving the case. As discussed in lecture, Dupin makes meaning of the data that he collects-- and in the opinion of Poe as expressed in this quotation, this is considered analysis.

Posted by burkmar at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2006

Alyssa's Quote Commentary on Poe

Alyssa Roehmer
CompLit 240.004
"Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allen Poe

Dupin said, "Thus there is such a thing as being too profound. Truth is not always in a well. In fact, as regards the more important knowledge, I do believe that she is invariably superficial. The depth lies in the valleys where we seek her, and not upon the mountain-tops where she is found."("Rue Morgue," 412)

With the wrong man in prison, and the police’s futile search for the person who committed the “Murders in the Rue Morgue,? Dupin is the only one who has the insight to see what is right in front of everyone.

In this quote, Dupin underlines a unique, yet significant comparison between “the deep? and the “shallow," painting a vivid picture of "vertical distances." He surprises the reader by saying that, oftentimes, people are too thorough (“profound?) in their investigations. Our attention is immediately directed to the vision of truth “not always in a well,? emphasizing his point that the answer is not always as buried, or intricate as it may seem, and personifying “truth? as physical thing—something we can touch. Moreover, the reality is that the “she? is "superficial" (consistently placed plainly “upon the surface"). The reason Poe personifies truth by giving her the life-like characteristics of a woman, or a “she,? is not developed later in the story. However, Dupin re-emphasizes his "vertical distance" analogy through the example of "valleys" and "mountains" in that the unnecessary plunge that people take into areas (“valleys?) that are beyond their reach is time wasted because in all actuality, the finding of “the more important knowledge? requires no digging at all.

Sayan's note: Ilana from my Section 003 has also written her quote-commentary on this same passage. It may be interesting to take a look at her commentary, which is here.

Posted by romie at 11:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Lindsey's Quote Commentary

Lindsey Smith
CompLit240 Section 004

“The witnesses as you remark, agreed about the gruff voice; they were unanimous. But in regard to the shrill voice, the peculiarity is-not that they disagreed- but that, while an Italian, an Englishman, a Spaniard, a Hollander, and a Frenchman attempted to describe it, each one spoke of it as that of a foreigner. Each is sure that it was not the voice of his own countrymen.? -Edgar Allen Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue, pg 415.

This passage alludes to the character Dupin’s power of observation that go beyond those of the common man. Dupin is able to trace the murderer’s voice and abundance of agility to an Ourang-Outang, which in most cases is a far stretch from reality. To most, it would seem illogical to think the voice of a murderer may not have come from a human. It is with Dupin’s capability of examination and exploration that enables him to solve a case that was once labeled as impossible.

Posted by linzsmit at 10:39 PM | Comments (3)

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 10:36 PM | Comments (2)

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 08:44 PM | Comments (3)

Emma's Quote Commentary on Poe

Emma Morris - CompLit 240 Section 004

"He impaired his vision by holding the object too close. He might see, perhaps, one or two points with unusual clearness, but in so doing he, necessarily, lost sight of the matter as a whole. Thus there is such a thing as being too profound. Truth is not always in a well. In fact, in regards to the more important knowledge, I do believe that she is invariably superficial." - Edgar Allen Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue, p 412.

In this passage, Poe employs the rhetoric device of an analogy and metaphor in order to illuminate the larger structure of the mystery at hand. By characterizing the subject in this passage as too concerned with scrutizing an object, or a problem (or a mystery), with too much focus on over-analyzing its intricacies, and approaching a problem without intellectual ingenuity, Poe establishes a relationship between truth, knowledge, and "sight." In this sense, Poe contends that the truth of a matter is often "superficial," that is, is often right on the surface: it is often useless, if not detrimental to delve too deeply into scrutiny. In light of "Murders In The Rue Morgue" as a whole, Poe portrays Dupin as an analytical mastermind who is able to deconstruct and restructure the causes, events, and undercurrents of a problem, not by delving deeply into the motives, circumstances, data, and evidence, but by approaching it at face value.

Posted by emmorris at 06:36 PM | Comments (3)