The Murders In The Rue Morgue And The Purloined Letter

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conforms to and frustrates what we traditionally expect from the genre. Poe shaped the genre of detective fiction - although he preferred to call them “tales of ratiocination” - after introducing Detective C. Auguste Dupin. Dupin analyses unsolved mysteries and uses his advanced cognitive ability to deduce information to solve cases; thus, a new genre was born. To describe how Poe’s short stories both comply with the general expectations of detective fiction and how they defy them, I plan to examine The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Purloined Letter. Having come from the Latin word “genus”, meaning “type”, “genre” refers to style, when things, usually music or literary works, are grouped in collections of similar style. The function of genres in regards to literature is that “For readers, genres are sets of conventions and expectations: knowing whether we are reading a detective story or a romance… we are on the lookout for different things and make assumptions about what will be significant.” (Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction) In the genre of detection fiction, readers would anticipate a murder in a seemingly locked room, a suspect being wrongly accused of the crime and a brilliant, intelligent protagonist detective with a less intelligent partner. Both The Murders in…show more content…
It is tradition of the genre to have an uncommonly smart detective as protagonist, alongside a mediocre partner who often articulates the mystery. It is made apparent to the readers that the narrator possesses no significant intellect, as in the Murders in the Rue Morgue, when asked his opinion on the murders; he says “I could merely agree with all Paris in considering them an insoluble mystery. I saw no means by which it would be possible to trace the
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