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The Women Of LeFanu And Poe

4 Pages 889 Words

The Women of LeFanu and Poe

The women in the stories of Edgar A. Poe and Sheridan LeFanu are of two different
persuasions but both have in common their death and demise. Poe’s stories exist mostly in the
natural realm, some in the psychological, and LeFanu’s lean towards the supernatural.
To understand why these two prolific men wrote about women the way they did we have
to examine their background with women. Poe had a tough childhood growing up. He lost his
father and mother only a year apart in 1810 and 1811. His sister went crazy and lost her mind.
While he was in school, around the age of fifteen, a mother of one of his classmates acted as a
mother figure for him. But she also died. Her death was a result of a brain tumor. Poe thought
of her as the mother he always wanted. Later on in his life he married his thirteen year old
cousin. She burst a blood vessel and became a vegetable until she died. With all the women in
Poe’s life dying you can see the reason why he wrote about women either dead or dying in his
In contrast to Poe much less is known about J. S. LeFanu. His wife died in 1858 and this
drove him to be a very depressed and reclusive man. This perhaps led him to write about the
women dying in the supernaturally way they do.
Poe’s use of women seemed to lean on abuse and murder. He always has their life end
undesirable and in calamity. The women die by the men’s hand. LeFanu uses women in a very
different way. In Carmilla the woman is the aggressor but alas in the end dies by the hand of the

Poe uses his women in a way that they are in the story line but have no real
particular use or interaction. In Black Cat the wife never spoke or had any real interaction. She
was basically just another piece of the setting. In Fall of the House of Usher the sister doesn’t
speak and had no particular part. The women in The Murders in the Rue Morgue were referre...

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