Short Story Review: Eleonora by Edgar Allan Poe

Eleonora is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, published in the 1840’s.

The narrator introduces us to his life in two parts: the first, when he lived in the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass and the second when he lived in the city.

In the first, he lived with his aunt and her daughter, Eleonora, in this rural paradise, where he describes a land of beauty, flowers, rivers and hills, and none save them three came to the valley.  There is only one that can surpass the beauty of the valley: Eleonora.

The narrator and Eleonora fall deeply in love, but very quickly she becomes ill, “…she had been made perfect in loveliness only to die”.  The only issue Eleonora has with death is that the narrator might leave the valley and give his love to some other woman, which of course, he swears he will not do.  He makes it clear that he will not marry another woman.

And yet, many years after the death of Eleonora, he leaves the valley, breaks his oath and marries another.  But does the breaking of this oath have any implications for the narrator and his future?

Eleonora discusses the issues of love after loss.  It’s a poignant but interesting story and the description, especially of the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass which serves to illustrate and reflect his feelings for Eleonora, is vivid.  When he speaks of love, the valley is a paradise, but when he becomes grief-stricken the valley is no longer what it is was.

My favourite quote from Eleonora, I featured in last year’s Quoting the Classics challenge:

Eleonora quote

Short Story Review: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart is a story of murder, told by a man who claims he isn’t mad.  The man in question lived with an elderly gentleman, who had one bad eye, which when it looked upon him made his blood run cold.  And so, to ensure that the eye could no longer be turned on him, he decided that he must kill the old man.

But the crime is well thought out, planned in advance and executed over a number of days.  So, of course, he cannot be mad, can he?

This dark and chilling tale of the ravings of a madman who commits a gruesome, premeditated murder is fast paced and full of suspense.  It is probably one of the best short stories I have ever read due to the atmosphere that Poe manages to create and sustain until the very end of the tale.  The way he captures the mentality of the narrator, only serves to heighten the suspense.