The Pit and the Pendulum Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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How does the "Pit and the Pendulum" relate to Edgar Allan Poe's life?

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Elton Bartholomew eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is perhaps dangerous to view any single Poe story strictly in relation to his personal life. Poe deliberately wrote stories in the Gothic vein, since it was a popular style at the time. He was always trying to advance himself as a popular writer, and like any writer, he tried to create inventive ideas for his stories. However, if one were to psychoanalyze Poe in terms of this particular story, the parallels would be the general themes of being trapped in life and authority controlling him.

Poe was an orphan, adopted by John Allan, a man he constantly clashed with. Poe attended West Point and felt bored and stuck there, so he deliberately got himself expelled. Poe's life as a writer was slow to gain any large success or recognition, and this constantly frustrated Poe, since he believed that his stories were superior to the stories being published in popular journals and magazines. His young wife, Virginia, suffered from tuberculosis, and this was a constant worry to Poe, as were his...

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