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How does the ending in "The Pit and the Pendulum" affect the reader? How does his...

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laurawight | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:05 PM via web

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How does the ending in "The Pit and the Pendulum" affect the reader? How does his writing help to create these effects?

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 25, 2009 at 10:49 PM (Answer #1)

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The reader is left breathless by the climactic ending. The rescue of the narrator just before he topples headlong into the pit is such a release that it gives the reader a huge sigh of relief.

There was a loud blast as of many trumpets! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo.

The narrator describes his torture at the hands of the inquisition so deliberately and carefully in the narrative that one might expect the same fate awates the Inquisitors at the hands of General Lasalle. But Poe adroitly ends the story with the rescue leaving the reader to wonder about the fate of the Inquisitors who held the narrator captive.

One of Lasalle's major faults was his willingness to repay brutality in kind and it was said of him he "made Spain tremble". In 1807, Lasalle joined the expedition to Spain and was responsible for the torching of Torquemada, a village that resisted his troops.

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