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An embrace of our humanity
Courtesy of Pixabay, WikiImages
A true photograph of Edgar Allan Poe, expressing a monochrome-frustration

This series is written to express the beauty in people’s united struggles. 

 This is substantially observed through history’s geniuses; even though they achieved incredible heights, they still suffered and rebuked themselves.

So if these golden pillars were tainted in pain, why do we, common folk, expect immunity? 

Edgar Allan Poe

When it comes to agony, few are as experienced as Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Allan Poe was brought into the world on January 18, 1809. His parents were the actors, Elizabeth Poe and David Poe Jr. When Poe was one, David left.

Now alone, Elizabeth gave her all to provide for Poe and her two other children. In theaters, she would begin performing multiple roles. Out of necessity, the family traveled from Boston MA to Charleston SC to find jobs.

Unfortunately, while touring Richmond, Virginia, Elizabeth was plagued by tuberculosis. In her time she was helpless, as it would be another century before tuberculosis treatment was invented. Thus two-year-old Poe was left to watch his mother decay.

Since then, Poe was marked by unrelenting poverty.

Following Elizabeth’s death, the three siblings were split, and sent to foster homes.

Poe found his home with the Allans. This was almost like a parting gift from Elizabeth: not only were Mrs. Allan and Elizabeth friends, but Poe was the son the Allans pleaded for. 

After many hopes for a son, Mrs.Allan enveloped Poe as a member of their family. But for Mr. Allan, Poe was like a chilly gust of wind: one which would blow behind his ears, and remind him that “Your life isn’t about you anymore”.

At first, Mr. Allan didn’t mind, he raised Poe to his utmost. He gave Poe an exquisite education, and always instructed Poe to be a gentleman.

But just as everything was working-out, Tuberculosis reared its fangs. This time, Mrs. Allan was crippled; reduced to a bed-riddend life. Instead of helping his wife, Mr.Allan took advantage. He took Mrs. Allan’s crippling as an invitation to have affairs. 

Poe was disgusted. He loathed when Mr.Allan invited women over. In retaliation, Poe argued with his father. Never leaving his belief that women deserved the utmost respect.

Then as if to shield himself, Mr. Allan sent Poe to the University of Virginia. At this point, however, the University of Virginia was exceedingly dangerous. The school was notorious for its crime: a student went as far as murder.

Shortly after arriving, Poe noticed his financial dilemma. The money Mr. Allan gave him was shallow. In this state, Poe couldn’t buy firewood; On cold nights he resorted to smashing the preplaced furniture. 

Seeing how he couldn’t sustain himself, Poe turned to gambling. There he accumulated a hefty debt. 

As a last-ditch effort, Poe asked Mr. Allan for support. Mr. Allan rejected Poe, denying him a cent.

In reaction to poverty, and being pursued for his debt, Poe ran away and joined the military. He registered under the name Edgar A. Perry. There, he speared through the ranks: starting as a private, and ending as a regimental sergeant major.

Using his military funds Poe reached a goal, to publish a book. This was the forty paged, Tamerlane and Other Poems: By a Bostonian. Even though it didn’t make him fortunes, Poe was happy; at long last, his career as a poet had started.

 Then, just two years later, tuberculosis finished its meal; on February 28, 1829, Ms. Allan died. Edgar was torn, not only was this his second mother lost, but it was another catastrophe by tuberculosis.

 Still grieving, in 1831, Poe took two major actions; to quit the military, and to find an emotional shelter. This shelter was found with his aunt, Maria Clemm.

 He soon moved in, meeting Maria’s daughter Virginia. Poe loved this home, he greatly valued the support he got: especially from Virginia. 

Amid writing books, in 1834, Poe was called to visit Mr. Allan. When he got there, Poe saw Mr. Allan on his last legs. Instead of greeting him, Mr. Allan bantered to Poe, almost harassing him. In that meeting, Mr. Allan made sure of one thing, to let Poe know he was an embarrassment.To further confirm his point, on his will, Mr. Allan included numerous illegitimate children, while excluding Poe.

To keep his family out of poverty, Poe moved and became an editor. Poe then became synonymous with truth: pulling at articles’ every seem.

While Poe tore apart writing, Maria was shredding his love life. When he found out Virginia was being kicked out, Poe panicked. At first, he just drank, but then he realized Virginia was special. Poe then wrote letters, letters filled with worry and urgency. In these letters, he pleaded to both Virginia and Maria. Through his paragraphs, he urged Virginia to resist being butted. He encouraged Virginia by calling her his wifey, sister, and cousin. 

Fortunately, this worked. Poe would be married to Virginia on May 16, 1836. This was a fruitful marriage bringing joy to both Poe and Virginia.

As shown above, Poe has had a complicated life; intermingled with fortune and despair. But oftentimes there would be no outside source for Poe’s problems. 

Up until 1842, Poe’s family battled poverty; but through a mixture of luck and effort, Poe arranged a meeting with the tenth president of the United States, John Tyler. 

Everything was on a road to work out; But on the day of the meeting, Poe became heavily intoxicated.

If it weren’t for the president’s son having intervened, Poe would have been ruined. That day, before meeting the president, Poe encountered his son. Thanks to him, Poe rescheduled, and through that, got a job.

Poe’s life shows an interesting side of humanity; the chain of suffering. Almost at birth, Poe was robbed of his mother, and abandoned by a father. Since then, Poe was marked by unrelenting poverty. 

On top of every tragedy, Poe was toyed with; not only were many of his family members killed, but mainly by Tuberculosis. 

What makes Poe’s tragedies human is their effect on him. While crushing, Poe was never flattered. He continued working, and continued loving. This isn’t to say that Poe was a saint. Poe too, had his outburst, and like many of us, they led to trouble. 

When he was in a meeting with the president, Poe tried to swindle him. Slowly but surely convincing the president to buy him magazine subscriptions.

That meeting was the same one that was supposed to save Poe from poverty; It was his opportunity to provide for his family.

Poe’s careless attitude in tandem with his grim reality paints a real example for people. It sets many expectations for life. It shows that through explicit tragedy one can sprout on. 

About the Contributor
Diego Morales
Diego Morales, Reporter
full time dwarf