“The boundaries which divide life and death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins.”
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
Warren County Middle School celebrated Poe’s life on Friday with a birthday party. Poe was born 210 years ago on Jan. 19. During his 40 years, he became one of the most important and influential American writers of the 19th century, as well as an editor and literary critic. However, he was best known for his poetry and short stories.
Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” was included in the celebration. The short story was first published in 1839 and centers around Poe’s boyhood friend, Roderick Usher. Gloom surrounds the outside of the house, while inside lies murderous intend.
Poe-impersonator and WCMS Drama Club member Kaden Hobbs narrated the opening statements of the play.
“Pow was an interesting person,” said Hobbs. “No one knows how he died. That’s still a mystery.”
Performing the scenes were: Aiden McCormick as Poe, Kaden Scott as Roderick Usher, Zaliyah Gutierrez as the doctor, Jaden Roark as Madeline Usher, and Caitlyn Adams as the maid.
Carrol Lee Mayberry is one of the eighth-grade teachers who spearheaded the celebration.
“He was the first to trying to make a living as a writer,” said Mayberry. “He was the first writer of psychological thrillers. He looked into people’s minds. There are so many stories, so many connections, so many quotes and things like that which people make reference to. It’s good to expose the middle school students to their first bout of Poe.”
Poe utilized animals in many of his poems and stories. The best-known would be “The Raven,” a large black bird that tormented a grieving lover’s chambers as he slips slowly into madness.
Rock Island State ranger Holly Ingram visited the school Friday morning and offered students a look at some predatory birds, a red-tailed hawk and a ghost owl. The park offers these exhibits as an educational tool for students and visitors to the park due to the birds being unable to return to the wild.