What is the "singular effect" that Poe argues is the hallmark of a great story?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Poe's "singular effect" that the reader should take from his narratives and poems is the unsettling truth that lies in the dark, irrational depths of the human mind. For example, in "The Raven," the singular effect is the disturbing truth to the narrator that he will never again see his love; she is gone forever--"nevermore." Death is the absolute finish...period. In the short story "The Fall of the House of Usher" a truth is that Roderick could not exist without his sister; his family line was so thin that he and his sister were like complementary parts; dependent each upon the other for so long that they had become virtually one.


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