The Murders in the Rue Morgue
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Murders in the Rue Morgue Foreignness and 'The Other' Quotes
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What he stated was, in substance, this. He had lately made a voyage to the Indian Archipelago. A party, of which he formed one, landed at Borneo, and passed into the interior on an excursion of pleasure. Himself and a companion had captured the Ourang-Outang. This companion dying, the animal fell into his own exclusive possession. After great trouble, occasioned by the intractable ferocity of his captive during the home voyage, he at length succeeded in lodging it safely at his own residence in Paris, where, not to attract toward himself the unpleasant curiosity of his neighbors, he kept it carefully secluded, until such time as it should recover from a wound in the foot, received from a splinter on board ship. His ultimate design was to sell it. (116)
The same thing that brings Madame L'Espanaye's Algiers metal spoons from North Africa to Paris also brings the ape that kills her: commerce. International trade both enriches Paris and threatens it, in ways that no one can predict.
Returning home from some sailors' frolic on the night, or rather in the morning, of the murder, he found the beast occupying his own bedroom, into which it had broken from a closet adjoining, where it had been, as was thought, securely confined. Razor in hand, and fully lathered, it was sitting before a looking-glass, attempting the operation of shaving, in which it had no doubt previously watched its master through the keyhole of the closet. (117)
We have to admit we feel a lot of sympathy for the Ourang-Outang here as the ultimate "Other" trying to fit in. He tries to mimic the habits of his master and gets whipped for his troubles.