Friday, November 13, 2009

Poe Fridays: The Oblong Box

For this week's Poe Fridays, I chose the short story The Oblong Box. You can read it here.

This is the story of a man who sets out on an ocean voyage to New York. A close friend of his is also on the ship and is acting strangely. He is an artist of irregular temperament but he seems overly morose during the trip. He brings on board with him a 6 foot by 2 foot pine box which he keeps in his own cabin. This friend is also traveling with his sisters and his new wife -- who was reported to the narrator to be of extraordinary beauty, talent and wit. The narrator is surprised then to meet the wife and find her rather plain, uneducated and nervous. Though the narrator is mistaken for some time in thinking that the box contained a precious artwork, I didn't find it hard to guess what the titular "oblong box" really contained.

This was a very quick-reading and simply-written story. There was no philosophy and little mystery -- only the genuine actions of a grieving man and the puzzlement of a less-than-astute friend. Although the subject of this story is sad and a bit grotesque, I thought it was also touching.

Next week's Poe Fridays reading will be a poem, The Bells. It's an introduction to winter gone terribly wrong!

Hoping to be cherished even after death (but maybe not THAT cherished),


  1. I think I might be burning out on Poe - this happens to me when I read a lot of the same author in a row. I definitely want to make it to the end of the year, but things are looking sketchy...I don't want to feel like I'm forcing myself through. If I get too irritated with the week's selection, I might just find some other random Poe subject to post about.

    Also - my word verification word is chili - yum. Sounds perfect for a weekend of football! Go Hawks! =)

  2. Elizabeth - I totally understand. It's been hard to read the same author every week for ten months! I hope that I've picked enough diversity in our final six readings to get you through.