Dark Themes and Segregation
The Enigmatic Edgar A. Poe in Baltimore and Beyond exhibit displayed a varied collection of Poe materials, including; books, a portrait, a lock of his hair, and an engagement ring. The exhibit featured pieces from the Susan Jaffe Tane Collection, proclaimed to be one of the best collections in the world. Poe died in Baltimore in 1849, so the exhibit tried to focus on his legacy in Baltimore, but they also included pieces beyond the legacy he left in Baltimore.
Poe had a tendency to write novels and stories that were depressing and the tones were dark. In Shelley’s Frankenstein, the segregation of the monster and the death of Frankenstein’s family members give a depressing feeling that resembles the feelings in many of Poe’s works. The agonizing pain the monster had to go through, being alone and hated by everyone, even his creator. He was attacked by villagers when they saw him, “grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons.” (Shelley 74) Frankenstein threatened the monster as he approached, exclaiming he was the devil and asking “and do you not fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head.” The monster was forced to live in solitude, his only comfort watching the three people living in the cottage next to his own.
In “Tableau,” two boys were walking next to each other, through neighborhoods of both black and white. The two boys were of different race, the one black and the other white. From inside their homes, the black people stared at the strange and almost forbidden occurrence. In the white neighborhood they were talked about. “Indignant that these two should dare/ In unison to walk.” (Cullen 7-8) The white people thought it to be angering that these two would dare to walk together as equals. These two boys were being judged for trying become equals and stop segregation themselves. They are trying to break the darkness and loneliness that the monster, in Frankenstein, feels.
In “Theology,” Dunbar states “There is a hell,” and his proof is that his neighbors would have nowhere to go otherwise. He is saying that his neighbors do not pray and are not religious. His neighbors may not be religious, but he seems to talk about them in a condescending manner. He is fairly certain that his neighbors are going to hell and he will go to heaven. Dunbar and his neighbors probably do not converse that much since he thinks so lowly of them that he can infer that they are going to hell.