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MS. Found in a Bottle

MS. Found in a Bottle


by Edgar Allan Poe

Analysis: Genre

Horror or Gothic Fiction, Adventure, Satire and Parody

"MS. Found in a Bottle" most closely resembles the horror genre—Poe's A-game—with its unearthly landscapes, possible ghost ship, and strange terrors of the unknown. But Poe also adds adventure elements with his tale of an epic sea voyage to faraway lands.

Depending on how you read it, he might also be poking fun at other adventure stories, with outlandish details like impossibly huge waves (the black galleon was "upreared upon the summit of a wave of more than a hundred times her own altitude") (9) and a hero who dies in a faraway land instead of returning home with wealth and glory.

That would make the tale a form of satire rather than straight-up adventure because it upends expectations readers might have while quietly pointing out how goofy some of those expectations might be. It's becomes even juicier when you take the narrator's supposed rationality into account. He's factual, he's accurate, and he sees thousand-foot waves and whirlpools without bottoms? The National Enquirer will be in touch.

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