Death In “Home Burial” & “A Cask Of Amontillado”

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The short story is an important genre in American literature. For a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, the rise of the middle class and the expansion westward (which gave most American leisure time and created a perfect atmosphere for this mode of literature to blossom), the short story exploded in popularity in the early stages of American history. One of the preeminent authors of this mode was Edgar Allan Poe. His tales are often gothic, macabre short stories, so it is no surprise that “A Cask of Amontillado” deals with death in some capacity. Robert Frost was an American poet from the early twentieth century. He is often associated with rural life and pastoral themes. These two authors are inextricably linked to a certain locale (Poe to Baltimore and Frost to New England) and time period. Although nearly a hundred years and over a hundred miles separate them, their works still share common threads. In the case of Frost’s poem, “Home Burial”, and Poe’s short story, “A Cask of Amontillado”, the theme of death plays an essential role in each piece of literature. Although the theme of death is dealt with differently in each piece, “Home Burial” and “A Cask of Amontillado” rely heavily on miscommunication between characters to explore the theme of death. Death itself, in each story, couldn’t be used any differently. In a literal sense, the death of a couple’s child and subsequent burial begins the action of “Home Burial”, while in “A Cask of Amontillado”, the death of Fortunato and premature burial are the resolution to the story. So, “A Cask of Amontillado” concerns itself mainly with the theme of revenge and “Home Burial” concerns itself with the theme of mourning, in the scope of the overall arching theme of death. This, essentially, paints death in two different lights: death being seen as a tragedy in one case and a triumph in another. There

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