Edgar Allen Poe’s writing style is known to be grotesque and slightly barbaric. He utilizes multiple things to establish his own unique style of writing, and his works often are credited as being the start of the detective fiction genre. In some of his works like “The Raven”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and “A Dream Within a Dream”, you can tell that a certain writing style is mirrored through all three poems. Edgar Allen Poe uses theme, tone, and syntax to establish his signature style in his poems.
In “The Raven” he uses the themes of grief and depression to demonstrate a man who just lost his beloved “Lenore”, his now dead maiden. Dark themes like these are often used by Poe in his poems to appeal to a reader’s emotions. For example, in “A Dream Within a Dream” the themes are isolation and inner struggle. Within “A Tell-Tale Heart” the main themes are madness, shame, and guilt. These dark themes are prevalent in more than just these three poems, and this gothic style of writing is a huge point as to why he is so revered as a poet.
The tone of his poems are more intense tones than most poems generally follow. Edgar Allen Poe often likes to use certain diction that establishes the tone of his poems. For example, Edgar Allen Poe writes in “The Tell-Tale Heart” this, “Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work!” (Poe, “A Tell-Tale Heart) Edgar Allen Poe contrasts the mood the readers feel with a tone of excitement in his poem. He uses the same style in “The Raven”. “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore!” (Poe, “The Raven”) The tone of the sentence implies that the author is happy that his soul will be ‘lifted’, but the mood implies chaos and despair from the author. This contradiction between the mood and the tone is one of Edgar Allen Poe’s distinct signature styles in his writing.
Edgar Allen Poe heavily uses syntax very similarly in his poems. In “A Dream Within a Dream” he utilizes punctuation such as dashes, commas, and question marks to emphasize the emotions of the author. “Grains of the golden sand — How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep — while I weep!” (Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”) This use of syntax can also be seen in “The Tell-Tale Heart” as well as “The Raven”. “It was open --wide, wide open --and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness --all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.” (Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”). “On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!’ Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore.’” (Poe “The Raven”) Edgar Allen Poe often uses this type of syntax in his poems.
Edgar Allen Poe’s distinct writing style is established through theme, tone, and syntax. His conflicting tone and mood is often seen in his writing, as well as punctuation in the form of dashes and commas. He also uses dark themes in a huge majority of these poems. Poe’s use of these theme, tone, and syntax allowed him to excel as a poet and create a name for himself.