In "The Cask of Amontillado" was Poe successful in creating a single effect?  Why or why not?Poe believed a story should create a single effect upon the reader and that every single word and...

In "The Cask of Amontillado" was Poe successful in creating a single effect?  Why or why not?

Poe believed a story should create a single effect upon the reader and that every single word and phrase should contribute to it.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A few choice effects of this story:  horror, dismay, entertainment, disgust, loathing, etc.  Any one of those words could be supported with examples and words from the text; because of this, the story isn't successful at rendering just ONE effect.

If you go with dismay, you could use when Fortunado starts coughing from the damp, Montresor, with apparent concern interjects, "Come...we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible."  Such dripping insincerity and lying!  This should dismay us.  You could add the ending, where Montresor mocks Fortunado's cries and screams by screaming right back at him, even louder:  "I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I re-echoed, I aided, I surpassed them in volume and in strength." You could add the part where Montresor stops in his labor at entombing Fortunado to better listen to Fortunado's distress:  "The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones."

All of these examples support the idea that dismay is a potential effect, but it is just one possibility out of many that you could use; the effect depends too much on the reader to limit it to just one.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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