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Edgar Allan Poe was a crucial part of American literature and made a substantial difference in today’s literature.  Not only did Poe create multiple short stories and poems he was also an editor and critic.  Poe’s peculiar life and death helped him gain recognition and influenced his story writing and poem style. Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809.  Both of his parents, Elizabeth and David Poe were traveling actors who died of tuberculosis before he turned three.  After their death Poe and his siblings were split up, with him ending with a couple unable to have children – John and Frances Allan (hence the name Allan Poe).  The Allan family shaped Poe into a young talented writer by moving to England and attending a school close to London (1815-1820).  Despite his uncertain future, Poe became an intelligent young man and an amazing writer/poet.  At age 15 he wrote his first poem after moving back to the states, “Last night, with many cares & toils oppres’d, weary, I laid me on the couch to rest” (1824). At the age of 17 Poe attends college at the University Of Virginia. Not only was Poe an extraordinary student, he was a genius.  He excelled in French and Latin, and was a part of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society.  Unfortunately in 1826 Poe was forced to leave the college life he once excelled in.  Poe’s adopted father, John Allan, would not fully pay his tuitions and Poe himself could not pay them either.  John Allan loathed him (although his adopted mother felt the complete opposite).  He turned to gambling, but despite being very intelligent he was terrible at it.  Poe not only unable to pay for college, also caused himself a substantial amount of gambling debt.  This partially influenced his writings due to those events causing him to feel depressed and lost.  Poe’s style of writing is very dark and gothic, and having to leave the college life he once excelled in along with John Allan’s constant disapproval of what Poe wanted to become in life, sparked just the beginning on how he would write poems and short stories. Once out of college Poe moved to Baltimore and enlisted in the army under the alias “Edgar A. Perry”, a 22 year old (Poe was 18 at the time).  Once at the United States Military Academy in West Point, Poe was a subpar cadet.  Compared to his college performance Edgar was a completely different person in the academy.  During his first term he gained 106 demerits and 44 offences.  The once intelligent, popular scholar Edgar Allan Poe was replaced by a rule breaking “Edgar A. Perry”.  However, Poe continues writing poems throughout his time at West Point.  The first published was a book of many of his poems, “Tamerlane and Minor Poems”.  The second book he published was named “Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems”.  Eventually, Poe is kicked out of West Point based on the many demerits and offences he earned throughout his time there. Once again, John Allan is dissatisfied with Poe’s decisions. Poe then continues his poem writing but publishes his work anonymously.  One of the reasons Poe published anonymously could have been because of John Allan.  Throughout Edgar’s life with his adopted father, their relationship was strained.  Poe was not the son he truly wanted.  Allan was never an affectionate, loving father figure nor was he easy with him.  It left Poe depressed, knowing he could never have a true father.  John Allan’s mistreatment towards Poe greatly affected his writing style.  He created many dark, almost twisted stories that only someone with an appalling past could create. In 1829, at age 20, Poe’s beloved adoptive mother died from a long lasting illness.  The death of his second mother crushed Poe, leaving him depressed another time.  Unlike John Allan, Frances Allan was very close to Edgar.  She was very kind and loving, giving Poe a chance to be loved by a parental figure.  After her death Poe and John Allan decide to set their differences aside and grieve peacefully for Frances Allan.  Poe finally had a father figure he needed.  However, their time of sympathy for each other was short lived.  Poe decided he wanted to become a poet, but John Allan despised the idea. Over tensions between what he wanted to become in life, the two went their separate ways.  A few years later around 1833, Poe sent multiple letters of despair and need to John Allan.  Edgar never received a response.  In 1834, John Allan died leaving Poe completely orphaned and left nothing for him in his will.  After losing 2 sets of parents Poe was beyond devastated.  Once again Poe’s life has become more unfortunate and depressing.  He could not keep the ones he loved from dying.  It took a toll on his creativity and writing, however it made his style he wrote in increasingly dark and depressing, with a slight hauntingness mood.  You can feel his despair in his stories, which was not common in literature around his lifetime.  It drew in a curious audience and made him gain recognition later in his career. 1835 was a turning point in 26 year old Edgar Allan Poe’s life.  After winning a contest for his short story, “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle”, he is given a job offer as an editor for “Southern Literary Messenger”.  Not only was he able to publish other writer’s work, but he was able to publish his as well.  This is the time he truly begins living his dream of being a poet and story writer.  Poe’s life was improving and this was only just the start.  Despite his improvement Poe’s gothic writing style remained.  It is what made him different from the other poets as well as writers of his time period. Poe then marries his first cousin, Virginia in 1836.  Virginia Clemm was 13.  Poe was 26.  Out of his whole lifetime this was the most unusual and now illegal, also disgusting event in his life.  However, the couple allegedly did not sleep in the same bed until she turned 16.  Unfortunately Virginia was given the same fate as Poe’s parents.  After 11 years of marriage Virginia Clemm died of tuberculosis.   Unable to cope with another loved one dying Poe turns to alcohol.  Sent into a deep state of depression, he became an extreme alcoholic.  The death of Virginia was the hardest loss Poe had ever had to cope with.  He was beyond in love with her and the death of her by tuberculosis had destroyed him.  Along with his alcoholism the many losses Poe had endured affected his mental state greatly.  It intensified the cold-blooded and cruel writing style he had already claimed as his own.  The short stories and poems he created were more gothic and dark than ever. In the fall of 1848, Edgar Allan Poe proposes to 45 year old Sarah Helen Whitman.  Whitman was a poet and transcendentalist who agreed to marry Poe but only if he quit consuming alcohol.  Unsuccessful in ending his alcoholism, their engagement only lives to a month.