Isolation The Man Of The Crowd English Literature Essay Free Essay

“ Such a great bad luck, non to be able to be entirely, ” declares the gap line of Edgar Allan Poe ‘s “ Man of the Crowd. ” Surrounded by a metropolis full of people, the storyteller is so non entirely in that sense. “ Entirely, ” though, may be viewed in another visible radiation: to be alone, to stand entirely against the pandemonium and homogeneousness of the crowd. The relationships the storyteller has with and the observations he makes about the people of London give penetration sing the nature of urban relationships by and large. Though the storyteller does non in world have any direct communicating with the people in this narrative, he observes and studies on each of them, and these observations replacement for his missing personal relationships. It is his observations of the metropolis of London itself, of the crowd, and of the old adult male that reveal Poe ‘s antipathy for the isolation and loss of individualism that metropolis life Fosters.

The metropolis is largely merely described at dark, and we see about nil of the daytime hours. The audience, hence, is left with a dark and glooming image of the metropolis. By supplying this exclusive nighttime portrayal of the metropolis through the storyteller, Poe automatically creates a cheerless mentality on metropolis life that pervades the narrative and provides the background for the full commentary.

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To reenforce the cheerless mentality, Poe has the storyteller enumerate the characteristics of the “ brink of the metropolis ” in more item than any other portion of London ( 220 ) . He states that this topographic point “ [ wears ] the worst impress of the most distressing poorness, and of the most despairing offense ” ( 220 ) . The poorness and offense reveals that people do non care about each other, in that no 1 helps the poorest of the hapless and the felons have no respect for their fellow metropolis inhabitants.

Peoples are isolated from, and apathetic towards, their fellow metropolis inhabitants. To give a farther feeling of the poverty and apathetic nature of the metropolis, he describes the mendicants, hapless misss returning from their demanding work, and ill people rolling about the streets. From the descriptions of these people it is apparent that the metropolis is a cold, detached, and unforgiving topographic point: the sick were “ in hunt of some opportunity solace ” and the immature misss had to return to “ careless places ” ( 217 ) . The deficiency of concern for others in the metropolis high spots Poe ‘s impressions that the urban environment creates isolation amongst its dwellers.

While depicting the crowd, the storyteller is seated behind a window, separated from the people. Puting him behind the glass isolates him from those whom he is so meticulously detecting. One would believe that after being ill and inside for months on terminal, the storyteller would desire some sort of personal, human relation, yet he is absolutely content to sit alone indoors and chew over the walkers from afar. His willingness to be entirely farther contributes to the sense that people are genuinely isolated in the metropolis. This isolation is besides seen in the walkers, who “ [ talk ] and [ gesticulate ] to themselves, as if feeling in purdah on history of the really dumbness of the company about ” ( 216 ) . Here the storyteller explains that because there are so many people around and since no 1 knows each other, these people feel like they are entirely.

Poe suggests, through the storyteller ‘s observations, that while one may be in utmost propinquity to others in the metropolis, he is non genuinely connected with any of them, except in the sense that he may portion some general properties with a big group of others that causes him to be seen as portion of the whole.

The storyteller states that he at first expressions at the people “ in their sum dealingss ” but so moves into detecting the inside informations of which there were “ countless assortments ” ( 216 ) . Herein lies a contradiction: he points out there are “ countless assortments, ” yet he does precisely the opposite by reciting the types of people that he sees and puting each individual into a specific class. The storyteller treats each individual within each of his categorizations as the same as the whole: though he calls them “ persons, ” he instantly places them into a larger group. Poe here is seeking to state that while you may believe that you are a distinguishable individual in the metropolis, you have already lost your individualism by being portion of the “ crowd. ” The storyteller tells himself that everyone is different, but in indicating out their differences, he makes sweeping generalisations, therefore doing many people the same as one another.

Furthermore, when the storyteller classifies and describes the “ crowd, ” he does so in a really scientific mode, looking at each of them through their “ figure, frock, air, pace, countenance, and look of visage ” ( 216 ) . While these traits should do each individual different at least

in some manner from another, they are wholly treated as precisely the same within each group. The categorization of the people in the crowd makes them lose their individualism by generalising and seting each individual into a pre-labeled group.

When a individual comes along, the “ adult male of the crowd, ” that can non be classified, the storyteller is “ startled ” ( 218 ) : he does n’t cognize how to believe about this adult male since he can non set him in a chiseled class. He is so intrigued by this adult male that he leaves the java store where he has been meticulously scouring the people of the crowd. He purposefully hides among the

walkers so as non to be seen and, in making so, loses his individualism and becomes merely another indistinguishable face amid a sea of others, proposing that his quest to sort this adult male is ineffectual. If the storyteller himself is identical, how is he able to individualise and impute specific properties to person else? Besides, the manner in which he describes the transitions that the old adult male takes causes him to go intertwined with the old adult male ‘s individuality: the storyteller says that “ he hurried into the street [ … ] until we emerged ” ( 220 ) . He has to make precisely as the old adult male does in order to remain near and observe him. Again, this commixture of individualities emphasizes the loss of individualism in the metropolis that Poe wishes to indicate out. A individual starts to lose his individuality when he starts acting like other people.

The storyteller finally abandons his chase, stating that this adult male “ does non allow [ himself ] to be read ” ( 215 ) . He points out that he can larn nil else about him. The storyteller here seems to merely disregard person that does non suit into he predetermined categorizations. This eventual neglect for the distinctive feature of the old adult male once more shows that there is no true individualism in the metropolis. If other people like this adult male can non be classified, they are likely merely ignored ; in consequence they do non be. So, in kernel there are no persons.

The narrative opens by stating that it is “ a great bad luck, non to be able to be entirely. ” The storyteller in “ Man of the Crowd ” is surrounded by a metropolis full of people, unable to be entirely, though is genuinely stray from them. Through the observations made by this storyteller, it is apparent that the same isolation applies to every other member of society in London ; no 1 knows anyone else and, in that sense, everyone is isolated. Though, these people are non entirely in that none of them are distinguishable from a larger group. Each individual is defined as being portion of a group within the crowd and as a portion of the crowd by and large. It is this loss of individualism that gives intending to the vagueness rubric “ The Man in the Crowd. ”

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