This is not how I want it to be at all sorry.

“There had been a very remarkable and most unaccountable omission: — no person had as yet been mesmerized in articulo mortis.” This quote is from the gothic short story ‘The facts in the case of M. Valdemar’ written by Edgar Allan Poe. I have chosen this story because it is one of the best gothic short stories by Edgar Allan Poe who is one of the most influential and successful gothic fiction authors. I believe in this short story that the doctor is a gothic protagonist. There are six traits that relate to a Gothic protagonist. These traits are contrasting qualities, High social rank, often shows negative foreshadowing, is driven by strong emotions, is secretive or has an air of mystery and has a need to know. These traits are related to a Gothic protagonist because they are consistently used in Gothic novels and short stories and are globally accepted to be the traits of a Gothic protagonist. This short story is describing a doctor trying to keep his patient alive through the process of hypnotism.

He uses a technique called Mesmerism which is with the use of magnetics and electricity to keep this dying man alive. He states that the experiment is working through this quote: “‘The general appearance was certainly not that of death.” I believe the doctor predominantly shows two of the traits of a gothic protagonist by trying to keep a dying man alive through Mesmerism. I think he shows a need to know. He needs to know new things about the world and he needs to see if he can save a man that is about to die by putting him under hypnosis. I believe that the doctors needs were selfless and that he wanted to see if he could find a cure for death. He wanted to do the likely impossible. This was a big idea in the 19th century and if the doctor achieved this then it would be a medical breakthrough. I relate to this in a way because I also have a need to know and I would like to study different kinds of science so that I can help the world improve and hopefully find cures for many different things such as death which is what the doctor is trying to do. I would like to help a dying person become alive again just like the doctor is doing.

The doctor does show an air of mystery however. The doctor’s name is never revealed and I find this very mysterious. If the things that the doctor is allegedly doing is legitimate then why would they want to keep it a secret. I think either what the doctor is doing is fake or the doctor is not telling us the whole story. Usually when you do something good you want your name to be out there so that people can know all the good things that you are doing but in this situation, this is not the case. The doctor’s name is kept anonymous. I think the doctor that is performing these acts is in reality a fake and could be using the bodies for other selfish and sick reasons or maybe even for different experiments that would be hated on during this era. When I do something which is wrong or not socially accepted then I try to hide my name and make sure that no one knows that I am the one doing this thing. I think I have a connection with this doctor because sometimes It is just better to keep your name a secret for your good and/or for others good.

I think the tone and mood in this short story are of a rather mysterious manner. Tone ‘ is the attitude of the narrator or viewpoint character toward story events and other characters.’ and mood is ‘what the reader feels while reading a piece of writing. It could be the entire piece or just a particular scene. It’s not the reader’s emotions, but the atmosphere (the vibe) of a scene or story.’ (definitions found on class blog page). I think the tone of the story is quite mysterious. Poe has made the attitude of the doctor quite mysterious towards the events in the story because he is performing an experiment that has no physical evidence of success (“no person had as yet been mesmerized in articulo mortis.”) I think the mood in this story is actually quite dark. This is because Poe was talked a lot about death. “For God’s sake! — quick! — quick! — put me to sleep — or, quick! — waken me! — quick! This style of quote creates quite a dark and almost sad mood for me.

Edgar Allan Poe is an amazing gothic short story writer but I do not believe this short story has reached my needs. Maybe this is because I am incapable to comprehend some of the hidden messages or simply because it is not a great short story. However I am able to comprehend that the doctor in the story has some of the traits of a gothic protagonist and also I am able to comprehend the tone and mood. I couldn’t really relate much of this text to me because of the way it was written. I would give this short story a five out of ten.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Hi Lewie,

    I think you are on the right track with this. I would think about some of the ways you are wording things and look at developing a richer personal response. The response does not need to be how you see yourself effected by the techniques or things the writer is doing in the text. It can be about the historical context of the text, the way it makes you feel as a reader or the position it puts you in as a reader.

    Avoid making these “I can relate to this…” statements as they feel really forced. There are stronger ways to show you have connected or can respond to a text.

    This is original though and I like that. Don’t discount the work you have done here as there are some good moments in this piece, it just needs to be developed further.

    Mrs. P


Respond now!