The Spanish Inquisition was a holy and violent endeavor that was meant to convert non-Christians into Christians, but when some kind of rebellion or outburst took place, the rebel was meant with force and punished harshly. “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe is undoubtedly a piece of gothic literature taking place during the Spanish Inquisition following the imprisonment of the narrator. Edgar Allan Poe has written many pieces about death and despair throughout his impressive career. “The Pit and the Pendulum” indeed no exception to this literary trend. This specific story takes place during the spanish inquisition and focuses on the narrator who is imprisoned and tortured in a mysterious room. “The Pit and the Pendulum” has many elements of gothic literature such as the setting and point of view, the aspect of fear within the novel, and the horrid presence of death throughout the story.
Life Without Parole, by Victor Hassine, is a novel telling the true story of Hassine’s life behind bars. The daily struggle of trying to maintain your sanity, and avoid being harmed or even killed by inmates that are in the same facility you are in that are murderers. Life in prison has to be not only physically demanding, but also mentally demanding. Especially if you will never see daylight again, just even the thought of being in prison the rest of your life must kill you on the inside. In 2008, Victor Hassine committed suicide while incarcerated. He was handed down a life sentence without the possibility of parole after being convicted of homicide. In my opinion, I believe that prison makes you a way different person than you were on the outside, because it makes you re-adjust to different things around you. You are forced to fight day in and day out for your life with other inmates that may intimidate you. If you fight and prove to them you are tough enough, you will earn their respect, but if you do not fight back, then they will just continue messing with you and may even end up killing you.
“The setting plays an important role in how the narrator discovers the many ways he may die” (2). It is a dungeon full of torturing traps, and the character, as any normal human, feels terror inside his prison and fears his death in any of the cruel ways arranged for him. Still, he has to decide between death and the relief which it brings or life with the interminable agony of being tortured as a lab mouse.
The unit question asks whether or not the hero of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” would realistically be able to escape the descending blade swinging on a pendulum. The question is a matter of time, is it feasible for the protagonist to escape the pendulum with the allotted amount of time. Based on standard deviation and testing a pendulum of the same scale as the one mentioned in the story, the answer is no. The protagonist mentions that he believed 10-12 periods of the pendulum would result in the blade coming in contact with his torso. Using the formula developed in class for the period of a pendulum, it would take the 30 foot pendulum described in the story about 72 seconds to complete 12 periods. Testing the actual 30 foot yielded similar results within 1-2 seconds of 72 seconds. Therefore, it is fair to say that the hero is working with 72 seconds to free himself. This does not seem like enough time to develop an escape strategy, act on the strategy, and leave without getting hit bit the pendulum. The method the hero describes involves thinking about the situation and then employing the help of nearby rats. He also mentions, “Yet one minute, and I felt that the struggle would be over,” as if to imply he had 1 minute to spare. Since he was reflecting and then enticing the rats to gnaw through the rope it is not likely that it took only 12 seconds to escape. 72 seconds does not seem like enough time for the hero to complete his escape. However, the thickness of the rope and speed of the rats are factors that could affect the outcome.
Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum uses horror and suspicion to build up not only the storyline, but the persona of the narrator in which is also the prisoner. The characteristics of the prisoner ties within the story to create trippy feelings of fear and unassertiveness of whether or not he is truly safe. From the trials that the prisoner has faced, his characteristic of resourcefulness, pessimistic, and terror are revealed and play a salient part of his slick escape.
When one walks down a dark corridor or a deserted street; dark thoughts and possibilities will come to mind, causing one to want to leave as soon as possible. Gothic literature takes those terrifying thoughts and feelings and puts them into a story, and questions the human ethics of the mind. Gothicism is a dark form of literature popular in the 19th century, which typically features ideas that demonstrate the gloomy side of the imagination. Stories from this literary movement typically include eerie and melancholy content. “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allen Poe, one of the most renowned gothic authors, is a prime example of gothic literature. In the tale, the narrator is arrested and imprisoned for an unknown crime by supporters of the Inquisition in Spain. Throughout the story, his captors attempt to brutally kill him. However, he narrowly escapes death and is rescued by French troops, who have secured the prison. This bone-chilling
Have you ever been so close to death you thought you were dead… or wished you were? The story, The Pit and the Pendulum, by Edgar Allan Poe, is about a Frenchman who was visiting Spain and was caught up in the Spanish Inquisition in 1806. He was captured by the church-men who ruled the terrifying land he had ventured to. “They arrested, accused, and tried me… all on the charge that I did not worship God as they did. And for that I was going to die.” The Frenchman was tortured, not only physically but mentally as well, and found himself at death’s door throughout the story.
Hassine begins his narrative as he is entering prison but this time as an inmate. Prior to his incarceration, Hassine was an attorney (Hassine, 2011). Even then as an attorney, the high walls of prison intimated Hassine (Hassine, 2011). As Hassine was being processed into the system, he expressed how he systematically became hopeless from the very prison structure itself as well as because of the intimidation he felt by uniforms. Prisons of the past actually had a goal to aid individuals through rehabilitation by instilling new values in order to correct the wrongs that one may have committed during their lifetime but today this is no longer true. . Hassine draws colorful depictions of how dim and unfamiliar a prison can be in which instills fear in an individual soon as he or she
The rusted metal door scrapped shut, followed by the jingle of keys in the lock. Footsteps of free people echoed throughout the dry air and bounced off the low ceilings, growing fainter as they moved toward the exit of this icy room. Another door slammed shut, screeching loud metallic echoes in my ears and scattering my brain. After a while, the only echoes, to be heard, were the quiet voices of private conversations and the rustle of paper, which melted together in a blissful orchestration. Florescent lights hum and buzz overhead; one blinked every so often as if it were about to die, much like my happiness had long ago. This description captures the true horror of imprisonment. A close examination will reveal
In C.D. Wright’s complex investigation called One Big Self, the author twists around different views and social norms of convicts by exposing the side of prisoners that not many think about. This piece proves to be a culture shock, because of the twisted message of prisoners having a soft side, along with the unique style and conventions that the writing is delivered through with the odd layout of stanzas, fragmented quotes, and different fonts. The bizarre environment of the prison from which C.D. Wright finds her information proves to be rare and original because she uses her book as a metaphor to relate to the prisoners, which no other author has completed before. When reading One Big Self, readers feel that the book is hard to approach and not easy to understand because the tone is not accessible. By using this type of style, the author relates her writing to how people identify and relate with criminals, like those in
Victor Hassine was a life without parole inmate that was convicted of a capital offence in 1981. Shortly after Hassine graduated from Law School in New York, he was placed into a new home for the rest of his life, Graterford Prison. He was from Egypt and immigrated to New Jersey becoming a naturalized citizen in 1966. In his book, Life without Parole: Living and Dying in Prison Today, Hassine gives insight of the everyday life of being an inmate in a prison today. He threw himself into making prisons have better living conditions for the other inmates and himself. Hassines tries to tell the world about the truth of an American prisons by telling the reader what he had to go through while in a men’s maximum security prison. Entering the Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania, with only the thought of fear on his mind he quickly adapted to his new home. He tells about how he is processed through the system and expresses the amount of fear he is feeling.
The Book is written by a former radio reporter, Mumia Abu-Jamal who, during the time in the book is in a Pennsylvania prison awaiting his execution. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Live from Death Row is a collection of writings while he was in prison which tells a passionate and emotional account of the brutalities and humiliations of prison life. He explains the rules and regulations and day to day life in prison, on death row. He goes into detail about not only his feelings about prison life, but almost the feeling of life in general after being in prison compared to life out of prison. He explains what rules are enforced and which rules he violates and what is the outcome. He speaks of racism and political bias not only in America but mainly in the American justice system which he experiences first hand. He tells of instances of controversy surrounding the death penalty and freedom of speech against himself and others. This book is a compilation of the notes Mumia has taken over the years he was in prison and he highlights specific incidents to show readers what the life of a prisoner on death row is like. This volume is a collection of his writings, which documents the life in prison from his first-hand experience. I, like many I believe found this book fragmented as it is broken up into many short areas of topics and thought processes which he articulates and attempts to explain one issue after another to
Once one of the prisoner’s is released, he is forced to look at the fire and the objects that once made up his perceived reality, and realizes that the new images he is made to acknowledge are now the accepted forms of reality.