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Analysis

Literary Devices in MS. Found in a Bottle

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Poe establishes a fairly concrete time and place to start with, then keeps it intact even when more fantastic elements come into play. He's vague about the year, but the setting is very specific: w...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator never gets a name, but we learn a fair amount about him in the opening paragraphs, and we follow the story solely from his perspective. At times, he appears more as a peripheral figure...

Genre

"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...

Tone

Poe starts out with a very measured pace and includes specific details on the setting, the ship and the narrator. That continues throughout the piece, even as the narrator becomes more unhinged and...

Writing Style

Poe is known for flowery descriptions, and a certain rhythm in his writing. It was one of the reasons why he made such a good poet. Since it's an early work, he's still honing his skills in "MS. Fo...

What's Up With the Title?

But on you're thinking caps, because this one's gonna throw you for a loop: The title "MS. Found in a Bottle" tells us this story is a message found in a bottle. Okay, so maybe that wasn't so confu...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Qui n'a plus qu'un moment a vivre N'a plus rien a dissimuler. Quinault—Atys.Dust off your opera glasses.The epigraph means "He who doesn't have another moment to live, does not have anything more...

What's Up With the Ending?

Well for one thing, this ending is abrupt as all get out. And still, we're ready for it. Poe sets it up with a sharp contrast. The old men look forward to whatever comes next, as our narrator tells...

Tough-o-Meter

"MS. Found in a Bottle" is short and gets to the point like a lot of Poe's stories. But is also uses a lot of heavy and detailed language, including words that don't see a lot of use these days (Si...

Plot Analysis

Haters Gonna HateYou can't have a sea story unless you go to sea, and "MS. Found in a Bottle" begins with an explanation of why the narrator finds himself on a boat: namely, that he doesn't like hi...

Trivia

Antarctica was only discovered in 1820, just ten years before Poe wrote the story. He probably couldn't sell the idea of a giant whirlpool otherwise; people were still in the dark a bit, giving him...

Steaminess Rating

Zombie sailors don't make for the best sexytimes. Just sayin'.
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