The Romantic era writers, Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe, had many similarities but even more differences, in both writing theme and style. This is very evident in their works, Rip Van Winkle, by Irving, and The Fall of the House of Usher, by Poe. Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe were both writers who exemplified the writing style of the Romantic era. Both writers used their great talents to take the reader into the story. For example, Irving, in Rip Van Winkle, starts the story by saying, Whoever has made a courage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill Mountains.
He also involves the reader in the story by taking us into the everyday lives of the Van Winkles and goes into some detail describing Rips business. Poe also demonstrates his ability to pull the reader into the story. In The Fall of the House Usher he uses extensive descriptions of the settings to give the reader the feeling of being there while the story is developing around them. The writers are also similar in the use of tone in their works. Irvings use of tone in his stories is typically lighthearted, yet dramatic.
This is demonstrated in Rip Van Winkle when Rip comes back from the Kaatskills and is talking to all the people in the town. There, he finds his son and daughter and asks, Wheres your mother? By asking this question, Irving implies both curiosity and even fear if Dame Van Winkle is still around. This humorous approach to the subject of Rips wife, makes light of the fact that Rip cant stand her. Poe uses tone similarly to give his story a feel. The especially dramatic and morbid tones of The Fall of the House of Usher are demonstrated after lady Madeline has died.
Roderick, who believes he buried her alive, is going insane because when he imagines that she appears in front of her. Poe describes the feelings of Roderick in a manner that one can sense the fear that he must feel seeing someone return from the grave. The differences of Irving and Poe are much greater than the similarities of the two. Irving used humor in his writings while Poe used horror. An example of Irving using humor is his description of Rip falling asleep from the alcohol for twenty years after meeting the Dutchmen. Poe, on the other hand, took a more morbid approach to his writings.
He exploited the fear that is in each of us. An instance of this is But, as I placed my hand upon his shoulder, there came a string shudder over his whole person; a sickly smile quivered about his lips; and I saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence. Bending closely over him. I at length drank in the hideous import of his words. Not hear it? yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Longlonglongmany minutes, many hours, many days, have I heardyet I dared notoh, pity, me, miserable wretch that I am! I dared notI dared not speak! We have put her living in the tomb!
And now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin. I heard themmany, many days agoyet I dared nowI dared not speak! And nowtonightEthelredha! ha! the breaking of the hermits door, and the death-cry of the dragon, and the clangor of the shield! say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the vault! Oh whiter shall I fly? Will she not be here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Have I not heard her footstep on the stair? Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart?
MADMAN! This clearly demonstrates the morbidity and obscurity of Edgar Allan Poes writing style. These examples of the writing styles and emphasis show the differences of Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe. The writing styles of Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe are very similar in their extensive use of descriptive passages but they are even more different by the tones which they use to develop the stories. Irving uses humor while Poe relies on horror. While their writings reflect a certain style and theme about Romanticism, clearly their own writing personalities are demonstrated.