The Power Of One: Edgar Allan Poe

1860 words - 8 pages

How does one person change the world? Is it through politics, social media, or philosophy? How about literature? Literature is essential to the understanding of basic ideas, concepts, and universal themes. Its influence on the world is tremendous. Literature has the power of moving people to do things to change the world. The authors behind these writings have the same effect. American poet and author, Edgar Allan Poe, changed the world through literature. His riveting classics have had a huge impact on American and international literature. Through his intriguing short stories and timeless love poems, Edgar Allan Poe was able to change the world.
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 to professional actors in Boston, Massachusetts. He was orphaned at the age of three after his father abandoned the family and his mother died of tuberculosis. Poe was taken in by John and Francis Allan in 1812. John Allan was a wealthy merchant but he did not particularly care for Poe and they argued a lot when Poe was a teen. When Poe was sixteen, Francis Allan also died of tuberculosis, and John cut Poe off, refusing to give him any money. Their relationship was so strained that when John passed away in 1843, “Poe received no mention in his will” (CliffNotes 1).
Poe was afforded a good education when he and his foster parents lived overseas. “John Allan sent [him] to the best boarding schools” when he was a young boy (Poets 1). He attended the Irvine Old Grammar School in Scotland at the age of six and the Manor House School in England when he was nine. He studied French, Latin, math and history. As a young man, Poe was able to attend the University of Virginia in 1826 for one year, but he had to drop out due to the lack of money. In fact, “[Poe] was sent to college with less than a third of the money that was needed” (Life 1). During his time at the University, “[Poe] excelled in his classes [but] accumulate[ed] considerable debt” (Life 1). Poe was so desperate that in an attempt to pay off expenses, he even turned to gambling. By the end of his first term however, “Poe was so desperately poor that he burned his furniture to keep warm” (Life 1). Once Poe dropped out of college, he attended West Point and became a sergeant-general in the military, but subsequently was “discharged after a year because he was deemed an ‘unfit officer’” (Life 1). If Poe had stayed in the Army, he may have died in battle, and the world would have been robbed of the greatest writer.
After both his college and military failure, Poe pursued his dreams of writing. He became editor of The Southern Literary Messenger of Richmond, Virginia in 1835. Poe was also the editor and critic of several other magazines like Burton’s, Graham’s, and Alexander’s Weekly Messenger all located in Philadelphia. During his time as an editor and critic, he made a name for himself by contributing several stories and poems in the magazines and by publishing his short stories,...

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