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Edgar Allan Poe’s Influence On Stephen King

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    It is in human nature to delve into the morbid realms of life, and both Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King do this in their writings. These two men appear to have an oddly similar morose obsession with death, terror, horror, and murder; many of Poe’s and King’s characters come to an untimely demise. In looking at both Poe’s and King’s works, one can see how Poe may have influenced King’s writing.

    Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King are two men who are separated by decades yet seem to be similar. Both suffer from alcoholism and seem to be fixated with death and the means of such.Stephen King is a descriptive writer, just as Poe is, but their ways of describing characters and setting are very different. While Poe uses excessively flowery language, King seems to follow the “less is more” standard.

    His writing style is uncomplicated and simply tells the reader what his characters look like and what they feel, such as in this passage from “Needful Things”: “When Nettie saw Polly’s white, puffy face and haggard eyes, her own fears, which had gnawed at her like sharp weasel’s teeth as she walked over, were forgotten.The reader instantly knows much about both Nettie and Polly from this short passage. However, Poe seems to drag statements out and use confusing language, as in this passage from “The Fall of the House of Usher”: “He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin- to the severe and long continued illness- in-deed to the evidently approaching dissolution- of a tenderly beloved sister- his sole companion for long years- his last and only relative on earth.Poe spent fifty-nine words saying that the narrator’s friend hesitantly admitted that he was greatly upset due to the illness and imminent death of his sister.

    King learned from the “mistakes” of Edgar Allan Poe; although King’s way of writing gets across as many details as the late Edgar Poe, King does so in a much more straightforward manner. Also, Stephen King has borrowed from Edgar Allan Poe several times during his career.For example, he wrote The Stand, which tells of a plague that wiped out most of the people on the face of the earth; it can be argued that King took the idea for a book like this from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death,” which tells of a similar plague. Stephen King mentions Edgar Allan Poe in The Long Walk, and again in It.

    King also mentions the Lenore from Poe’s “The Raven,” in his book Black House. It could even be surmised that King’s terrifying black house may be an allusion to Poe’s house of Usher.Edgar Allan Poe is considered the father of horror, and Stephen King is the king of horror; King has been greatly influenced by the late Edgar Allan Poe. These two men are celebrities today, but King is fortunate to have received star status in his lifetime, unlike Poe.

    Although Stephen King has borrowed several elements of Edgar Allan Poe’s style, King has developed his own very unique style, and many other authors have been and will continue to be influenced by both Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe.

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    Edgar Allan Poe’s Influence On Stephen King. (2018, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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