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DOWNEY – Edgar Allen Poe has kept us on the edge of our seats for years and with the Downey High School drama production’s recent reincarnation of his work, it’s a surefire sign that Poe isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Just last week, Downey brought Poe’s work to life on stage for An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe, composed of a series of some of his most stories famous stories including “The Raven,” “Tell Tale Heart,” “Fall of the House of Usher,” “Oblong Box,” “The Cask of Amantillado” and “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether.”
Poe is most notably famous for maintaining scares and while his stories can leave some with nightmare, he left the drama department wanting more.
Poe’s stories have long fascinated readers and continue to do so in classrooms today. Far from what may be considered scary in the films of today, Poe has cleverly crafted a way to keep us titillated and make us go back to reread what just happened.
His stories are among the most popular at Downey High School and that does not surprise the teachers that have come to know him well.
“I think Poe has lasted through time because he haunts and disturbs the mind rather than the ‘in your face’ gore of today,” said English teacher Tina Carlson. “You think about his stories long after they are over, because they make one uncomfortable not just scared. He brings to the forefront our weaknesses as humans, such as greed and power, so we can all relate.
“Students enjoy his work because there are just enough details to make him interesting, but he leaves enough out that your imagination can take over.”
As every year passes, it appears that Poe’s stories have a continually greater impact on those who read his work. Students become enamored by his words and the emotions they provoke in them. Among the most popular with students are “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven.” Read in anthologies time and time again and even parodied by “The Simpsons,” the two are staples in English literature and readers couldn’t be happier than to have had the chance to read them.
“My favorite work by Poe is ‘Annabel Lee.’ It captures his emotions so well that the first time I read it I almost cried,” said senior Sarah Menendez. “The Raven is also one of my favorites. Not only is it a classic, but I think that that piece says so much. Like most of his works, I can never get tired of The Raven.”
Published: November 18, 2010 – Volume 9 – Issue 31