The Decaturian

Poe and The Raven or Stephen King and The IT?

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Two of the greatest horror writers in history, Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, are known for their excellent execution of psychological horror and bone chilling stories. Both are equally good writers and good at freaking people out. Although, the real question is: Who is scarier?

Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809, in the state of Massachusetts. He was a troubled man with an even more troubled mind. He had serious parental issues. His birth father left when he was born, and his mother died after he was three. He went to live with a successful tobacco merchant and his wife. Poe never got along with the father and became rebellious. His poetry and short-stories became infamous for their dark nature, profound images of death, and psychological elements.

His works are filled with sadness and terror. With “The Masque of Red Death”, not only is there an image of death himself, but at the end, everyone in the castle dies. One by one, all of them succumbed to the excruciating pain of the plague.

“The Tell Tale Heart” is a story about a man slowly losing his mind. Poe gives great detail in every pain that the man is going through. He goes through every sickening thought process.

“The Cask of Amontillado” is about one man shutting up another man inside of a wall. As the man slowly bricks up the wall, the one chained on the inside slowly loses his mind. He rambles and speaks nonsense.

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” is about a mesmerist (hypnotist) who hypnotizes a man in his moment of death. He doesn’t seem to react, in fact he seems to be stuck in a limbo. He is in this state for seven months. The only observations made is that he has no pulse or heartbeat, and he isn’t breathing. The mesmerist asks him questions in this state, and the man replies. He is not asleep, but he is indeed dead.

As the mesmerist asks the man what his wishes are, the man shrieks,  “For God’s sake! — quick! — quick! — put me to sleep — or, quick! — waken me! — quick! — I say to you that I am dead!” The mesmerist proceeds to take the man out of the state, and the man, in less than thirty seconds, dissolves into nothing but a puddle of entrails and dust.

Poe makes people question death and the process of death. His poetry makes us question whether we can stop death and if we can’t, how it will deal with us.

Stephen King was born is Portland, Maine 1947. His young life was normal and very average for society today. He first started writing in 1967, it was a short story called “The Glass Floor.” His first book, “Carrie”, was published in 1973. His books would turn into some of the most famous supernatural fiction, horror, suspense, and science fiction novels.

Carrie, his first book, is about a troubled girl. Her overbearing, religious mother suppresses her beyond belief. She discovers she has telekinetic powers. After all the horrible things that have happened to her at home and at school, she decides to use her powers for revenge. My interpretation of this is that King wanted us to see the downsides of excluding others. He shows, in a supernatural way, that we should not oppress people. It might just bite us in rear end.

The Shining, his third book, is about an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic named Jack Torrance. He, his wife, and child, go to a haunted hotel and eventually get snowed in. The forces of the hotel start to warp Jack’s mind, driving him insane. His son starts to see the ghosts around the hotel. The hotel starts to make Jack homicidal and go after his wife and child. This shows that anyone can go crazy. It can be anyone who can lose their mind.

Pet Sematary is about something everyone wonders: Can the dead come back to life, and would that be good? A family moves to an area full of suspicion and mystery. Not only do they lose their cat, they lose their son. The father buries him in a sacred burial ground. The boy comes back to life, and the father rejoices. Eventually though, the boy starts to kill people. He wasn’t himself anymore. The father then has to kill his son again.

This book makes one question death and humanity. King makes you think about the bad side of bringing people back to life. After death, people might not be the same.

Finally, one of the most famous of his books: IT. The town of Derry, Maine is full of disappearances. Every twenty-seven years, there are many deaths. The book is told from two different times; 1957 and 1984. The Losers Club is a group of kids pushed out of society and bullied. They join together to fight the force after them and others. That force is an unnamable entity that can only be called IT.

IT usually transforms into Pennywise the Dancing Clown. This story is how they defeat it. This story also shows that some powers are so powerful that you can’t easily defeat it. Some things can’t be defined or named. Some things are just too powerful.

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Poe and The Raven or Stephen King and The IT?