Friday, May 15, 2009

Poe Fridays: Berenice

This week's Poe Fridays short story was Berenice. You can read it here.

But, if I were you, well ... I wouldn't bother. This story was incredibly wordy and hard to get into and then, when it finally got going, it was disturbing and eventually disgusting. There's a young man who has a mysterious malady that causes him to pointlessly fixate on things for hours upon hours. His cousin, Berenice, gets sick and ... um, loses her morals? Okay, so I didn't really understand what he was getting at but she also gets really emaciated and jaundiced from her illness. So, what happens? The guy asks her to marry him, of course. Then one day he sees her and she smiles at him and he fixates on her teeth. He can't stop thinking about them. At this point, the girl has a seizure and seemingly dies. She is buried and he can't remember much of the following hours except that he now realizes that he has dirty, bloody hands ... and there's a spade over there against the wall ... and what is in this box on the desk? I'm sure you can guess and it's not pleasant. And yes, when they find the body, she's not actually dead. She was buried alive.
I wish I could take back having read this story. Really. It was so revolting and pointless. Wikipedia summarizes some of the analyses if you are interested. Poe's own words on the story are these -- "I allow that it approaches the very verge of bad taste -- but I will not sin quite so egregiously again." I hope not!

I need something more palatable for next week's selection so let's enjoy a belated Mother's Day poem with To My Mother.

Determined to keep my teeth in my head,

1 comment:

  1. I STILL found this one easier than that darn scottish brogue story! My post is here.