Our two week reading for Poe Fridays has been The Gold Bug. You can read it here if you haven't yet.
This is the longest story we've read so far but it was definitely one of the easiest and quickest! Some of the short stories (think "Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling") took much longer to decipher. This is a straight-forward story about a treasure hunt, told by a first person narrator. The narrator has a friend who has retired to a very small island barely off the coast of South Carolina. One day he visits the friend who tells him about a unique beetle that he has found that appears to be made of gold. He doesn't have the beetle at the moment to show the narrator so instead he grabs a piece of paper from his pocket and draws a picture and hands it over. The narrator comments that the beetle looks exactly like a skull and hands back the paper. His friend looks at it again and becomes agitated. A month later, the narrator is contacted by his friend and asked to come help him on a short excursion. They end up in the middle of the island, digging in the soil until they come across a couple of skeletons and a treasure chest! The narrator then demands that his friend reveals how he came across the idea that treasure was buried in this place and we are treated to some more of Poe's fascination with detection skills.
This was yet another type of story from Poe. There were a few Gothic touches but overall it was an adventure story. The only issue I had with the story was the dialect assigned to the friend's black manservant. Poe definitely tends to overdo the stereotypical language styles of his non-white-American characters. The servant-- a freed slave --was also written to be quite stupid which was irritating from a modern perspective. It's hard to even excuse Poe based on the times. If you are sensitive to these sorts of portrayals, I would suggest skipping this story.
I've chosen the short story The Devil in the Belfry for next week. It is apparently about the Dutch and has some ridiculously spelled words in it but hopefully it's readable!
Hoping to come across my own treasure map,