Edgar Allan Poe Writing Styles in The Purloined Letter

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Detective Story

Many critics agree that with tales of ratiocination like "The Purloined Letter," Poe earned the title of father of the modern detective story. Three of C. Auguste Dupin's characteristics in particular—his mysterious nature, his civilian position, and his deductive reasoning—influenced the detectives found in both literature and film.

When Poe introduces Dupin, he provides very little information about his background. He and the narrator sit in the dark, smoking their pipes. When the Prefect visits him to talk about the case, Dupin purposely does not light the lamp, saying that "if it is any point requiring reflection. . . . we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark." This idea, of the mysterious, silent detective sitting and smoking in the dark while listening to his clients' cases, is one of the hallmarks of future "private-eye" stories.

Like these private eyes, Dupin is also a...

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This section contains 974 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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Short Stories for Students
The Purloined Letter from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.