Edward Irving Wortis, nicknamed “Avi” by his twin sister, is a prolific writer of children’s and young adult literature. He has published more than seventy books and has won both the Newbery Honor and the Newbery Medal. The Man Who Was Poe was published in 1989.
Providence, Rhode Island—November, 1848
Edmund sits alone on the edge of his bed in a small corner room on the top floor of a tenement building on Ann Street. A single candle lights and heats the cold room, and the frail, sad boy sits watching his sister. She resembles her brother, and she sits in front of a fairy tale book from which she has not read in hours. It has been two days since their Aunt Pru left them, and they are worried—and hungry. Their aunt has left to look for their mother before, but she has never been away this long before. There is nothing in the house to eat, and Sis suggests they go out to buy something to eat with the half dime they have. Edmund is hesitant; he reminds her they are new to America and there are unknown dangers everywhere. Because Edmund sees himself now as the head of this little family, he finally agrees to go alone and locks his sister safely inside the building.
Fearfully, he enters the saloon on the corner and asks what food he can buy for his coin. The imposing man behind the counter cuts a loaf of bread in half and wraps it for the boy. Edmund is dismayed by the meager amount of food but leaves quickly to get back to his sister. As he rounds the corner, a bent old man calls out to him, asking for directions. Edmund is torn, for he knows he should get back to his sister but he also knows Aunt Pru would want him to help an old man in need. They walk to Shamrock Street, the old man’s destination, much more slowly than Edmund would have liked. When Edmund finally arrives back at home, he unlocks the door and discovers his sister is gone.
A rather dark, intense man with a carpetbag is striding toward his destination, sometimes with purpose, sometimes hesitantly. It is a cold, dark evening, and he thinks about where he will stay tonight. He is a writer, but he is broke at the moment. He rummages through his carpetbag and finds a letter. Though he wrote it himself, he is still not satisfied with its contents. He knows he must deliver it anyway, so he approaches the red building, Number Eighty-Eight on Benefit Street. It seems to...
(The entire section is 7967 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Man Who Was Poe Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
In Providence, Rhode Island, in the late 1840s, a boy and his sister have been abandoned by their aunt and are going hungry after a few days without food. The have come from London in search of their mother, who disappeared after coming to America. The boy, Edmund Brimmer, leaves his sister locked in their rooms while fetching some food. When he returns, the door is still locked, but his sister, Sis, is gone. He wanders the streets in search of help and bumps into an odd man who calls himself Auguste Dupin, who says he will solve the mysteries of the missing sister, aunt, and mother. Dupin is brilliant, quick to draw conclusions from small clues, but there are disturbing parallels between what he says of his own family and the family of Edmund— parallels all ending in death.
(The entire section is 140 words.)