Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

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Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
This post was updated on .
Your job on the the General Assembly's Online Discussion Forum is to look for the thread entitled, "Discussion, Week Two: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers."

In a post to this discussion thread, discuss why ghost stories, thrillers, and horror remain such popular genres.  

Some questions you may consider before or as you post include:  Why is the ghost story part of camp entertainment, where the audience is primarily made up of children.  What does the popularity of ghost stories, horror stories, and thrillers and their use in juvenile entertainment say about Poe's popularity?  Why does our society, built on the back of science and reason, continue to share and circulate ghost stories, horror, and thrillers often based on fantasy or superstition? What function do such genres of literature serve for the individual and for society?  Why do kid's summer camps, where we teach kids the basic values of society, carve out a space for story telling around a fire and often tell such stories?  Do you enjoy the genre(s)? Why, or why not?

Here is the essential questions to answer:

Why does Poe so often focus on death, ghosts, horror, mystery, and madness as a means of achieving his literary ends?  Why has Poe remained so popular?  What does Poe get out of concentrating on these genres? [Hint: Thinking about and answering this question will give you insight into the sublime--the subject of your blog post/short essay for next week.]
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Kristi Kesler
Humans in general are very curious beings.  Horrors and thrillers remain a very popular genre because it sparks their curiosity.  Artists and writers have taken full advantage of the human curiosity and ran with it.  The question of what happens to those after death obviously remain unanswered because you don't know until it happens...then its too late to share with others.  Horror and ghost stories make you wonder and think about zombies and people coming back from the dead.  Granted these thoughts have never been scientifically documented possible, but its still an unanswered question we are all curious about.  Horrors and thrillers also keep you "on the edge of your seat" wonder what is around the next corner and whats going to happen to the victims.  The anticipation for the "end" keeps the audience interested and involved.  The Saw series is an excellent example of thriller/horror that keeps viewers coming back for the next in the series.  The thought that someone out there could and would actually do such horrible things to people, keeps us interested!  The news provides horrible stories and men, women, and children that go missing and are never found.  These people could end up in all kinds of places (sad enough).  Granted these movies usually are gruesome and horrible but we are curious and intrigued.

Ghost stories are also taught and shared to everyone even at a young age.  The typical sitting around a camp fire telling ghost stories is the prime example.  The feeling of being scared and wondering what's out there hiding in the dark people tend to crave.  Ghosts are particularly entertaining because like I stated earlier, everyone wants to know what happens to us when we die.  Do we really turn into this "ghost" that walks about with the living yet no one can see? Or do we come back as something new and different?

Poe is one of the best known writers that focused on the mystery, madness, and the dark side of life and death.  My favorite work of his was The Raven.  He portrays a simple bird's tapping at his chamber door and windows and creates the image into this dark evil object which Poe ends up calling it "thing of evil..."  This poem continues to state, "Thrilled me...filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before..." which perfectly described the awkward feeling one gets from being spooked by something.  I think this unique feeling is part of what drives human to watch and read horror/thrillers. I think that Poe benefited (not only monetarily) from writing these books and poems because obviously it was a subject he thought about often.  Perhaps he believed that by writing down these thoughts that thing would make more sense.  He could also speak to others about his views and ideas and get their perspective on them.  Similar to Poe, Stephen King also made his living by writing detailed stories about thrillers, horror, and madness.  Again these are subjects that make humans uneasy but we cannot simply avoid them because of our curiosity. I believe these genres will always be popular because despite research and evidence that ghost and supernatural do not exist...we still wonder...
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Austin Mills
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
     I think a big reason why this genre is so popular in camp fires during summer camp is because it allows children to use their imagination. We as humans are fascinated with things that are considered out of the ordinary and this gives them an outlet to think about things like that. When someone gets really into a story or movie, they begin to feel the intensity behind it and that's what makes it so appealing. I also think tradition has a big role in why stories are re-circulated. We gather around the fire and tell ghost stories we've been told because its a bonding experience. Even though we know that scientifically people can't come back from the dead and there are no ghosts, we use the common elements of fear and adrenaline to share the story and bond with whom we are telling it to.
     I find many thrillers and horror stories interesting. I definitely feel more involved when I'm on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what's going to happen next. When I hear or read a story it uses my imagination and makes me wonder "what if...".
     I like reading Poe's work, his style of writing entertains me a lot more than other writers. I think he wrote about things that he often thought of. I think a lot people have similar thoughts, they just don't share them. Poe has a unique way of taking the topic of, let's say, death and turning it into something makes you imagine things that seem impossible. I think that's why he remains popular to today because he has a way of fascinating a reader with his writings.  
     
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Preston Tran
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon

Why do ghost stories, thrillers, and horror remain so popular? It is due to the fact that everyone posses a little bit of curiosity and imagination. Ghost stories, thrillers, and horrors spark curiosity and often lets our imagination get the better of us. Anyone whose seen a horror or a triller has in an essence seen all horrors and thrillers, yet we still want to read, watch, or hear these stories because they keep you "on the edge of your seat." Waiting and wonder what is going to happen to the victims the author has drawn you to love. Often times you become involved with the character, and the anticipation for what is around the conner keeps you on edge, but more so interested. I think a big reason why this genre is so popular is for that very reason, ghost stories, thrillers, and horror excites your imagination and curiosity, never leaving you not interested and always keeping you on the edge of your seat. Even though many of the plots to these stories are very similar, sometimes identical, it is all about the scare the jump from the seats that keeps audiences coming back for more.
        Why has ghost stories at camp fires stayed a tradition over the years? Again I believe it has everything to do with the imagination. Letting these stories grab our minds and letting curiosity fill it of things that are out of the ordinary, such as people coming back from the dead and ghosts. Camp fire tales have their impact because they are told in the  outdoors and places and sounds that are unfamiliar, witch takes children's imaginations for a ride. However, why do we still tell them these stories that drive kids crazy? ITs because even though it makes the kids scared it is a bonding time, a tradition, that kids remember all their life.
        The reason why Poe's work is still so entertaining and popular is because he let his imagination into his writing. He was able to write about death and things that are not real but make you feel death and think of things that are not real. He remains popular to today because his style of writing that entertains dark thought and sudden twist in his tales. For me I have always loved his The Tell Tale Heart, where the character is going insane because of the the murder he has done, but you almost believe that the man he has murdered is coming back to life.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Antonio Lewis
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Ghost stories, Horrors, and Thrillers remain popular because the human race is very curious and often seeking thrills.  Curiosity, in fact, is what led man to visit the moon because there was clearly no need to find another habitable planet for humans.  We use scientific reasoning to validate our theories and the existence of ghosts and aliens are two examples of things that can't or have yet to be confirmed. Ghost stories are part of camp entertainment because honestly there is not much to do at night in the middle of the woods and it would not be safe for individuals to be roaming freely in the darkness.  The audience is mainly composed of children because they take things more for face value, are easily excited, and perhaps afraid of the dark.  The use of horror stories, ghost stories, and thrillers for juvenile entertainment shows that Poe was and still remains incredibly popular, because he is credited as the father of the mysteries.  The purpose of these genres is to jolt the adrenaline and scare people, but within a safe and controlled environment.  I occasionally enjoy these genres, but I generally prefer writings of autobiographical nature.  Its alright to fear here and there, but too much fear is not healthy for the mind and/or body.    
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Cynthia
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Death permeates the majority of the works of Poe as the main theme. He carries dead symbols of the past (mostly women) or even death with him and his texts, as a meaning of his struggle for spiritual tranquility, so shaken by his history of loved ones affected by various diseases.

In some poems he uses the theme of death, surrounded by horror, mystery and suspense, mixing exotic luxury with bloody death. The presence of death as well as being fundamental demonstrates the thought of Poe that nothing can prevent death, and it chases the humans with even more fury when they try to escape it. This sense of impunity in relation to the power of death is only a portrait of this writer's lifetime. Allan Poe would never be read as anything but a master of suspense. In literary themes, talking about literature of terror is to probe the fear and the terrors lurking man.

Terror is what was said normal, the apparent stability interrupted. In the stories of terror, fear translates into places and enigmatic beings, evil beings, fantastic, spirits, ghosts, witches, wizards, monsters whose appearance may or may not reflect the cruelty of it intimate. Terror is the uncertainty, the anguish of waiting for what comes after the dark corridor. The horror shows a universe that is hidden, that the imagination can conceive at unexpected moments and fear as well.

I do not really like any of those genres, I think that I traumatized because as a child used to spend summer vacations at the beach house and all the big kids use to tell it was the most "terrifying" stories. After that I never wanted to know much about it. I might changed my mind know, that I am grown and I hope I will not be so scared of what I read and hear.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Keith Vertrees
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Poe knew his audience. As a man who had a difficult childhood, being orphaned at a young age and taken in by a family that would not formally adopt him, Poe dedicated himself to living off his works as an author. To be successful, he had to write what would sell, and there was a particular fascination with the morose at that time. There are other elements, though, that influenced Poe's works. He had an interest in science (but mostly approached it as an art), and had what could only be desribed as a tragedy of a life. All these things, the death that surrounded him from his mother to his wife, and the perceived wrongs experienced, shaped the content and message of his stories.

The themes that Poe wrote about cotinue to be a theme of modern storytelling, from the best selling works of authors like Stephen King to the campfire stories told by children, because the thing that we all share is that of the unknown. The unknowable is what we all have in common, and that place where the imagination can run wild is so common among humans that it becomes the easiest place to frighten, delight, inspire, and challenge us.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Ben Morgan
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
I believe that in order to thoroughly understand the literary works of Poe, one must take a look at the life he led. It could easily be said that Poe did not have the easiest life. In fact by the age of three both of his parents were dead and he was adopted. He then led a life of work until sent away to college. Although it was a kind gesture to be sent of to college, he was sent with not nearly enough money to cover the expenses of education. So at a young age Poe was introduced to the dangerous lifestyle of gambling and debt. He went through failure at two universities, and led a life of poverty. He had many other hardships throughout his life. He went through the tragedy of a loved wife being taken by an awful disease. The very disease that killed his father, mother, and siblings, also swallowed the life of his wife. Again he was alone and poor. He did however write some incredible pieces that to this day are known.

I personally believe that Poe so often focused on death, ghosts, horror, mystery, and madness in his pieced as a direct result of some of the hardships that he himself lived. It is not the average person who can claim they endured so many a difficult obstacles. I believe that it was through these obstacles that he identified so much with the cynical characters of which he wrote. Why? I think in part because he believed them to come from within. In one of his more famous stories, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, he writes and explores the ‘terrors of the soul’, which he himself perhaps felt. I think that he truly believed that these dreaded and feared images of beasts, ghosts, and death were born up in him. It was a physical image that he could portray some of the pain that he himself was subject to in his lifetime.

To this day many of his pieces are still very popular and recognized as well as the life of Poe remembered. I think that the main reason is due to the fact that everyone undergoes trials of his or her own. Whether it be like Poe, through family and loved ones death, or whether it be through another cause, people all experience pain and suffering in some way. I believe that imagery he used to grip his own hurt might to this day be useful to some. It is almost comforting that one might be able to hold onto and have a grip of his or her hardship rather than the hardship having its grip on you. It puts trials into perspective. It in a way makes the trial smaller than the tried. It gives hope to the ability to conquer our trials and move on.

I also think that some of the publicity his work received was after his death. During the life of Poe he was known to have a nemesis. Another author, Rufus Griswold attempting to get back at Poe, wrote the obituary printed for Poe. His attempts however more than failed when the inaccurate portrait he painted of Poe being a reckless drunk only brought more attention to the literary works Poe had created. Although this is one reason that Poe initially was not forgotten, I believe that his works kept his name alive. Like stated before, I think that people can identify with the horrors within ones mind and soul that Poe portrayed oh so well.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Charlie Smoak
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
There are a few reason's why these genres remain in our society. First and most simple reason is that its fun. To be scared, but not too scared, can be really fun especially when this exciting emotion is shared with other people. The feeling is like a small rush, almost like a high, that people love to chase. I feel that everyone has a dark side, although some people have it worse than others, and watching horror/thriller movies or reading literature of these genres can give your dark side its fix. The use of horror stories around campfires at childrens camps teaches kids how to bring people together. Plus a dark environment with little light in the wilderness, I mean come on, a place to tell a horror story doesn't get much better than that. I personally love horror and thriller movies and books. Most horror movies are horrible and are great to laugh at. Thriller movies are the most exciting of them all. They usually have twists and turns, which keep you interested. Reading horror/thriller genres can be more intense that watching a movie. When reading you can get more into a characters head and sort of more understand their emotions.
Poe had a very traumatic life full of the loss of the people he loved, and this seriously affected his psyche (as it would to anyone). Through his personal experience in life I think is why his stories were so often about death and madness. The use of ghosts in his stories is a hard one to touch. If I had to guess, the memory of his lost loved ones haunted his mind like ghosts, the ghosts were vague representations of his lost ones. His concentration on the dark genres likely allowed him to express himself and how he felt through what he did best, which is of course writing. When I read Poes work, the dark mood it conveys gives me some insight of what it would be like to be in his mind. A dark, sad, emotional place full of loss.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

kevcon27
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Why do people like ghost stories?  The answer I'm sure is as complex as most simple questions.  I personally believe the tradition grew out of early religious gatherings.  I don't have any supporting data at this time but that's my gut feeling.  What I know, people love to be scared.  I think it stems from peoples fears of death, evil, heaven or hell.  I also wonder if these films don't have a deeper root in our ideas of heaven or hell.  Heaven, hell, purgatory and nirvana only technically exist on paper and in peoples hearts.  You could make a decent argument that characters like Freddy, and Jason some how are connected to our social moral compass.  Its not as easy to do irreputable acts when you believe you will be punished and burned in fiery pits of Wes Craven's imagination.  As several other class mates have noted people have an obsession with death and the unknown.  We see ourselves in zombies, mindless consumers of resources, forced to cannibalize each other to get ahead.

  As for Poe I think Ben's historical assessment is most accurate.  Poe saw the darker side of the worlds he lived in.  Being a gambler and debtor, I'm sure he saw all kinds of depravity.  People today tend to confuse the world Poe lived in.  It wasn't damsels and noblemen.  It was poverty and short life for most.  A hard life filled with many unknown terrors.  How do people today and when originally printed relate to Poe?  I say we all have our dark side and much of Poe's writing is about the struggle of the conscience.  Poe also posed some serious questions about religion by making man look into himself.   How does a merciful and vengeful God react to the atrocities in "Black Cat" or "The tell-tale heart".  These were the concerns of people then and today.  For with no fear of reprisal in the after life people might be a little more inclined to be violent.  Just my take.
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Woubet Gebreab: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Woubet Gebreab
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Edgar Allan Poe used the ghost, horror, mystery and thrill stories in his work because of his childhood experience after his mother’s death.   His wife’s and loved one’s death took a toll on him plus he was poor and needed to make a living.   His emotions, sadness and loneliness made him to express his feelings by writing what he felt inside.  Ghost, thrill madness, suspense stories and I think that’s mostly a reflection of his life.  Gothic literature fiction and fiction has come a long way now since Poe’s time.  I think people are fascinated and thrilled to feel the fear emotion by reading these stories especially Poe’s writing.  The unknown of afterlife, if ghosts or evil really exist people are curious to read about them.    Nowadays, Gothic literatures are not only books but movies, TV shows and games demonstrate science fiction or nonfiction or scary stories.  There are a lot of movies on genre of horror as vampires, ghosts, werewolves and wizards characters that have made lots of money especially for teenage audiences. The horror genre is created upon psychologically people’s fear of the unknown and the anxieties that come with it.  For example suspense and mystery movies makes me want to find out “what, who, where, why” and how the story will end.  Scary and horror story telling to kids in camp fire are the same way because it gives them chills of the unknown in the middle of nowhere and it is considered fun.  Every person whether a kid, teenage or an adult does not have the same feeling of fear one person’s fear could be more or less than the other person.   When I was a kid I used to like horror movies but now I don’t feel the same.   Except for some science fiction non-fiction, mystery and suspense stories I like to watch.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Brittani Fleming
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon

I remember in elementary school when my class first started learning about Poe and took a trip to the Poe Museum.  I remember thinking " what is wrong this this guy? why does anyone want to learn about this creep? "  Now that I'm older I feel as though I understand a bit better.  I feel like the mystery of death naturally intrigues people. I'm doubt anyone can pinpoint exactly what drove him to write such haunting work.  But it seems like a combination of life circumstances and other things led him to.  Though he talks about topics other authors might find strange, his work is awesome.  My favorite literary piece of his is "The Fall of the House of Usher."  Something about it just grabs my attention.  I am curious to know about everyone else's favorite pieces by Poe, especially yours Dr. Brandon.  
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
Brittani,

I approach Poe differently from most normal humans, that is, I'm a literary scholar.  This means I get into the short stories because Poe was among the first to prefect the genre of the short story and to praise and promote it as a superior alternative to the novel.  I specially like the detective pieces he wrote--mostly because he all but invented detective fiction.  Everyone--folks like Agatha Christie, Author Colon Doyle, and Raymond Chandler live in his shadow, and his influence continues into today in each and every "procedural drama" or "detective" drama like CSI, Bones, or Detroit 1-8-7.  His influence on Gothic fiction and horror has been immense, and there's little way to understand later horror or the "thriller" without first reading Poe.  As a teacher of Early American lit, I love teaching "The Raven," because it's a great piece to teach to show the value of really slowing down and paraphrasing every few lines and then building the piece back once you've got a handle on what is going on.  In my face-to-face classes, I spend almost half and hour reading "The Raven" through, paraphrasing each line and really hitting the nuance of the measure and the sounds.  Poe's "Philosophy of Composition" is the best piece out there on the theory of how Romantic poetry is meant to work, and I don't think students will ever "get" Poe without reading it alongside "The Raven"--as the piece explains every move and decision made in the poem from a Romantic standpoint.  Poe is also good for demonstrating how literature really works.  A student in this discussion brought up how the literary biography of Poe--written just after Poe's death--fixed the image of the troubled, drug/alcohol addict, half-mad poet in our heads.  

You might think from the above that I like Poe.  To be more precise, I admire him and consider him influential.  I have always found his criticism too mean and heavy handed toward those he doesn't like and too forgiving of his own work.  His dark imagination has never appealed to me--mostly because I read it through a host of other critics who make his "horror" almost comical, and I can't hearing "The Simpsons" version of "The Raven," a kind of half-satire, every time I teach the poem.  Mostly Poe doesn't resonate with me because I am more hopeful than he is.  At heart, I'm an optimums, not a pessimist, and I've never bought into the "poet as the undeclared philosopher-king" ideal which allows me to appreciate the kind of blatant manipulation of the reader that Poe so often indulges.  Read the "Philosophy of Composition" enough, and you see an inflated ego rather than a consummate crafts-person, poet, and critique who you see the first time through.  

Brittany, bottom line, I understand the reasons Poe writes as he does and about the subjects he does. He tells us in "Philosophy of Composition,"  I just don't particularly like his subjects, and he's always seemed a tad disingenuous and contrived to me.  Having said this, we would live in a very different world if Poe hadn't written and been regarded as he has, AND it is next to impossible to understand the world we live in without getting a handle on Poe.  Having said this, he's just not my cup of tea.

Steve       

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 10:27 AM, Brittani Fleming [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:

I remember in elementary school when my class first started learning about Poe and took a trip to the Poe Museum.  I remember thinking " what is wrong this this guy? why does anyone want to learn about this creep? "  Now that I'm older I feel as though I understand a bit better.  I feel like the mystery of death naturally intrigues people. I'm doubt anyone can pinpoint exactly what drove him to write such haunting work.  But it seems like a combination of life circumstances and other things led him to.  Though he talks about topics other authors might find strange, his work is awesome.  My favorite literary piece of his is "The Fall of the House of Usher."  Something about it just grabs my attention.  I am curious to know about everyone else's favorite pieces by Poe, especially yours Dr. Brandon.  


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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Roland Simmons
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Ghost stories, thrillers, and horror are popular in our society because we all at one point watched horror movies or experience the thrill of being curious to find out is there really ghost out there.  The reading and viewing of ghost and horror movies are to scare people and give them the thrill of knowing that any things possible.  Death and the death of woman was one of Poe's main themes in his archives.  Poe installed fear into his work and it still has an impact on the audience that are of the younger generation.  The themes of Poe's life works continues to have an effect on the imagination of the young and old alike.  A lot of Poe's life experience was part of what he wrote in his stories and he dedicated his work to become successful as an author.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Kendall Plummer
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Poe focused on the horror, ghost stories, and and thrills because it helped him describe how he felt of his life. His style of writing was a true relfection of how he felt. His childhood was filled of darkness and abandonment. His writings are dark and they give off a sense of feeling loneliness.

These genres continue to be popular because they provide entertainment for all ages. Children begin reading them in elementary school. Adults continue to read them now. I've learned that many older people enjoy reading mystery stories. There are movies that also provide this kind of entertainment. Listening to or reading these genres bring people together because it allows them to think creatively and be able to share their experiences with others. Many people are introduced to these genres in public settings such as school, or camp, which allows them to communicate with others around them.

The genres remain popular because they have provided entertainment, knowledge, and have shown individuals a new and creative way to express themselves in writing.

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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
I think the folks who are thinking the tragic events of Poe's life have hit on why his imagination turns to the loss of women and the men who remain behind as a theme.  As you've found out, Poe looses his mother and wife to consumption and his foster mother dies, so there is a patten in his life of the women he loves leaving him in grief.

However, this isn't the only reason he write horror, thrillers, and mysteries.  He tells us that the death of a beautiful, beloved, young woman, as told by the lover left behind is one of the most sympathetic, beautiful, sublime images a write can capture.  He has a section in "Philosophy of Composition" on why he picked the image for "The Raven" and other poems.  As a Romantic, he wanted his readers to experience intense emotions or--at the least--be reminded of when they felt intensely.  Romantic writer thought if they could get their reader to feel intensely, the readers would become better people, and society would improve.  Often, Romantic authors saw their selves as being able to feel more intensely and having a talent for sharing their ability to feel through their art.  Their notion was that by getting those of us who are more callous to our feeling to learn again to feel and to seek out and enjoy emotion, we'd learn to feel with and for others.  Help to create enough such people, and society would improve.  Hence, the Romantics saw their selves as being leaders of society and using their ability to feel and communication these feelings for the public good.  It didn't matter so much what emotions they got their readers to feel, as long as they managed to get their readers to feel, and often they thought it easier to get their readers to feel extreme emotions.  Poe dealt in loss, madness, over whelming grief, madness, cold-blooded murder--anything which was intense, edge of your seat emotion.

Steve  
Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 10:19 PM, Kendall Plummer [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Poe focused on the horror, ghost stories, and and thrills because it helped him describe how he felt of his life. His style of writing was a true relfection of how he felt. His childhood was filled of darkness and abandonment. His writings are dark and they give off a sense of feeling loneliness.

These genres continue to be popular because they provide entertainment for all ages. Children begin reading them in elementary school. Adults continue to read them now. I've learned that many older people enjoy reading mystery stories. There are movies that also provide this kind of entertainment. Listening to or reading these genres bring people together because it allows them to think creatively and be able to share their experiences with others. Many people are introduced to these genres in public settings such as school, or camp, which allows them to communicate with others around them.

The genres remain popular because they have provided entertainment, knowledge, and have shown individuals a new and creative way to express themselves in writing.




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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Courtney DeLong
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Ghost stories, thriller, and horror are just what people want to read about, and see. They remain a popular genre because they are interesting and fascinating. Plus, with ghost stories, you get to use your imagination which can make things every more interesting. Human curiosity compels up to find out more. Ghost stories are told to children at a young age, and it’s a fairly typical setting. People are sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, and the flashlight comes out. The stories begin, and we are so intrigued and fascinated by them. We have to know more. Thrillers keep us interested in what is going on. We are sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for what comes next. Horror and ghost stories keep you guessing and wanting more. Horror movies are often too gruesome to watch, especially these days. However though, we sit there and watch them, and then wait for the sequel to come out.  

There are several reasons as to why Poe has remained so popular. For one, he lets his imagination out in his writing. You never know what is around the next corner, and he keeps you guessing and interested. There is also the darkness and the thought of whether or not the character is insane. Poe is truly a unique individual in his writing style, but it worked for him. He always brought up the question of the supernatural that we all wonder about….what if?

Ghost, thrillers, and horror were the subjects that Poe thought about the most, which is why he concentrated on these specific genres. With his imagination flowing, you never knew where the book would take you. Also, it seems like Poe really believes in these things, and can focus in more detail because of his confidence.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

David Mistler
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Well ghost stories in general are made to reach an emotional release in fear without any real danger. Some of them teach morals or even teach us some common sense. The reason it is popular around the camp fire and summer camps is because you are out of your element and you are away from your comfort zone. This intensifies the experience allowing for more fun. This is shown through Poe's writing it takes you out of you seat and lands you in a creepy scary place or places you in the mind of someone who is either mad, grieving or just going through a crazy time in life. This shows that Poe knew that people liked to be scared and enjoyed a twisted mind, as long as it was someone else who could not hurt them. Poe also knew that you needed to add in tension and release to have a good thriller so he did so, making him a very popular writer. In todays society there are many who are driven by science. This would normally do away with thriller novels and stories. However, it is the chill down the spine and the faintest belief that the things that go bump in the night exists, that allows a perfectly rational person to be scared out of their pants when something jumps out at them in a movie or at a Halloween park.  I do enjoy the rush of being scared some of the time, but i don't really go and seek out the feeling. So, the next time I hear something in the night ill remember its all Poe's fault that I am scared.
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Nina Komarov
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Edger Allen Poe writes about ghosts, horror, mystery, and madness, which reflect on the childhood that he had experienced. Poe turned to his writing to express his feelings, thoughts, and emotions through the short stories that have many children and adults sitting on the edge of their chairs as they read. Poe was able to create a dark world inside readers’ minds opening their imaginations to a new and different way of thinking, through fear. These scary stories are filled with the excitement and adventure that only our nightmares can bring out of us. I believe this is why children enjoy a creepy and spooky story now and then especially if the environment is just right, like sitting around a campfire in the middle of the night. It gives a perfect chance to think and imagine the unthinkable by fantasizing the most badly unwanted extremely unreasonable situation possible. Reading tales that seem like they could be so real that it has you truly questioning the life, people, or place that you think you really know seem to retain readers interest. Readers get the twisted enjoyment in reading the crazy insane stories that Poe must have gotten a familiar satisfaction of creating such horror stories. He learned to share a different form of literature to the world, which was through one of the worst emotion ever, a rush of fear.    
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Re: Discussion Week Three: Discuss the Genres of the Ghost Story, Horror, and Thrillers

Alexa Smith
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Why are horrors, ghost stories, and thrillers so popular? In my mind there are several reason.

First, is our intigue and fear of the unknown. This intrigue is what makes up peek around the dark corner to investigate the strange sound we think we heard in the the dark room behind us. Second, is our fear and morbid interest in our own mortality. This is what makes us so interested in ghost stories; we question the possibility of any sort of life after death. Most of the ghost stories that are told are eerie; the ghost was usually murdered, or killed in some other tragic way. Our morbid curiousity makes us want to hear the story even when it makes us uncomfortable. Third, is our love of being scared. For most its an adrenaline rush; or a chance to show their bravery.

Poe seemed to love delving into the darkest side of humanity. He explored the unknown much better than most; he satisfies our morbid curiosity.
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