Khouzami 1Nicole KhouzamiMrs. KnuppLiterature/Composition 10Period 722 December 2017The word “horror” can invoke images of all sorts, but is often associated with the ideas of gruesome monsters or ghastly faces. However, two authors have recreated and broadened the concept of horror by writing about what really keeps people up at night. Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King are undoubtedly considered two quintessential icons of the horror genre, sharing a multitude of similarities and differences in aspects of both their early life, and in adulthood as they changed American literature for the better. Despite living in different centuries, both Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King shared somewhat similar experiences throughout their childhoods. For example, Poe’s family situation was not considered an ideal one. Born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, Edgar Allan Poe grew up in a home where his mother, a struggling actress, single handedly raised three children following her husband’s abandonment (Loveday 1). However, due to the family’s financial state, Poe’s grandparents eventually had to take in his older brother. By the age of three, Poe and his younger sister were orphaned and separated after their mother died of consumption (“Edgar” 1). As a result, Poe was sent to live with John and Frances Allan in Richmond, Virginia. The Allan’s provided young Poe with a quality education, sending him to England where he attended boarding school for five years. However, throughout Poe’s teen years, the relationship between him and John Allan grew tense due to his disapproval of Poe’s aspirations as a writer. This was the start of a conflict that would ultimately lead to Poe’s drinking and gambling habits that he developed later his adult life. Likewise, King did not have much of a stable home life either. Born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine, Stephen King had just turned the tender age of three when his father abandoned his family (Kehoe 1). In his adolescence, King moved about quite frequently, relocating to multiple different states, including Wisconsin, Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, and Massachusetts (Kehoe 1). Therefore, both Poe and King shared similar experiences regarding their unstable home situations, and the absence of a father figure in both of their lives. Like any other writer, Poe and King were not simply handed success; both experienced low points throughout their adult lives, and overcame many obstacles to make their names known as accomplished authors. For example, over the course of his short life, Poe faced many hardships involving his alcoholism and financial state in particular (Loveday 1). These adversities, however, had a tremendous impact on his work, shaping and influencing the dark, morbid writing that he is known for today (“Edgar” 3). In 1826, Poe decided to pursue his education at the University of Virginia, but his father denied Poe’s request for financial support (“Edgar” 1). As a result, he turned to gambling, and in a little over half of a year, managed to lose $2,000. Fed up with his foster father’s unsupportive attitude, Poe left for Boston with aspirations of becoming a writer, and published his first collection of poems, “Tamerlane and Other Poems” (Loveday 2). In spite of his small success, Poe still found himself struggling financially. As a result, he enlisted in the army where he rose to the respected rank of Sergeant Major. However, the majority of his free time there was spent pursuing his passion as he continued to read and write poetry. Poe had intentions of enrolling at West Point, but because of his financial state, he had no other choice but to seek his father’s help in pursuing his education. Surprisingly, Poe managed to impress his father with his previous military efforts, and agreed to help pay for schooling. Poe was discharged, and settled in Baltimore where he reunited with loved ones while awaiting his acceptance. Around this time, he met his seven year old cousin and soon to be wife, Virginia Clemm. The following month, West Point accepted Poe, leaving not too long afterwards in hopes of continuing his career as a writer. In 1831, Poe left for New York; despite his lack of income, he continued his craft as the years went on. From there, he began to expand his horizons as an author, attempting and succeeding in prose when he published the short story, “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle.” His success with the story ultimately landed him a job as a critic and author for the “Southern Literary Messenger” (Loveday 3). Here, he published “Murders of the Rue Morgue,” a detective story that demonstrated his abilities as a storyteller, rather than his other accomplishments as an editor or critic that he was typically recognized for at the time. For the first time in his life, the burden of his financial struggles were lifted off of his shoulders as his writing began to gain some fame. Unfortunately, his drinking habits cost him his job at “The Southern Literary Messenger” four years later (“Edgar” 2). His attempt to get back on track was met with failure after he tried to launch his own magazine entitled, “The Stylus” (Loveday 3). In the upcoming years, Poe moved around quite a bit; he landed jobs in New York, and in Philadelphia, where he worked as a co-editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, significantly increasing its popularity (“Edgar” 2). However, he managed to run into a conflict yet again, leaving Burton’s for Graham’s Magazine. Although the efforts made during his time at Graham’s clearly had an impact on the magazine, Poe’s drinking habits and uncooperative attitude caused him to leave; it became evident that he could not maintain a job for more than two years. Soon, Poe’s wife, his support system, grew ill with consumption. As a result, his alcoholism progressed substantially, nearly killing him in 1844 (Loveday 3). Unfortunately, he still was not earning enough money to support his ill wife, and nearly starved the following winter after his financial state slumped to an all time low (“Edgar” 3). That summer, Poe left for the country where he was inspired to write, “The Raven,” a poem that gained immediate fame, and is still well-known today as one of his most popular works (Loveday 3). At this point in his life, Poe’s career began to flourish, but both his mental and physical health continued to decline due to his wife’s impending death and his alcoholism. Two years after his wife died, Poe was found unconscious on the floor of a Baltimore saloon on October 3rd, 1849, passing away in a hospital four days later; his death was considered a mystery (“Edgar” 3). In comparison, King faced rejection, financial struggles, and a drug/alcohol addiction throughout his early adulthood, similar to that of Poe’s; all of these obstacles influenced his writing just as Poe’s did. King began writing at the age of 7, publishing his first story entitled, “I Was a Teenage Grave Robber” as a high schooler (Kehoe 1). After high school, King pursued his education at the University of Maine; here, he worked a part time job at the school library, and met his future wife, Tabitha Spruce (Ramsey 1-2). Following his life after college, King worked multiple jobs, including pumping gas at a rest stop, and in a laundromat where he was paid barely enough to make ends meet (Kehoe 1). He eventually landed a job as a high school English teacher, but he and his wife continued to struggle after the birth of their second child, unable to afford simple, everyday necessities (Ramsey 2). In addition to his financial struggles, many of King’s early works were rejected by countless publishers (Kehoe 1). However, things took a turn for the better when he published his first successful novel, “Carrie,” earning him $200,000 (Ramsey 2). At that point, King quit his job as an English teacher to pursue his career as an author. In 1977, he published yet another exemplary horror novel, “The Shining,” as it climbed its way to the top of the “New York Times” bestseller list; King’s career was thriving. However, around this time, he struggled with an addiction to hard drugs and alcohol (Nashawty 3). His drinking problem began at the young age of 18, and markedly progressed as he grew older (Greene 6). Furthermore, his cocaine use began in 1978, and ended in 1986. Unfortunately, his addiction (to oxycontin) started up again in 1999, following the severe injuries he suffered after he was struck by a vehicle and nearly killed (Greene 7). Living as a drug addict for nearly a decade had a negative impact on King’s writing, however. In fact, he claims that some of his worst novels, “The Tommyknockers,” and “Dreamcatcher” were written during this difficult period in his life. POSITIVE SENTENCE HERE Therefore, Poe and King experienced many of the same hardships throughout their lives, including financial struggles, and alcohol/drug addictions. Both Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King have had a profound impact on American literature, but did so in different ways. SUBTOPICAlthough most people know him for his short stories and poems today, Poe’s generation recognizes him as a critic/editor (“Edgar” 1). His work as an author back then was not nearly as popular as it is today, simply because it was so ahead of its time. For example, Poe’s perspective of human experience, particularly phantasmagoria, and his exploration of this idea changed the way people thought of horror. His writing focused on the idea that true terror explored the psychological, subterranean aspects of a person, rather than the superficial aspects. Poe is also recognized as a pioneer of the symbolist movement through the use of his metaphorical, and emotionally evoking style (“Raven” 5). He inspired many poets, specifically Charles Baudelaire, who played a key role in the symbolist movement as well. Poe’s role in this movement positively impacted the evolution of literary modernism not only in the United States, but in the United Kingdom as well. Poe is still being honored today for his accomplishments, including his contributions to symbolism, and for his interpretation of horror. For instance, Mystery Writers of America have named “The Edgar,” an award given annually to the author with the best mystery novel, in Poe’s honor (Cole 1). King has also left his mark on American literature. Khouzami 4Works CitedCole, Diane. “Investigate Tales of Edgar Allan Poe. (Cover Story).” U.S. News & World Report, vol. 145, no. 14, 29 Dec. 2008, pp. 53-54. EBSCOhost.Greene, Andy. “Stephen King the Rolling Stone Interview.” Rolling Stone, no. 1221, 06 Nov. 2014, p. 72. EBSCOhost.Kehoe. “Stephen King.” Biography, vol. 3, no. 10, Oct. 1999, p. 120. EBSCOhost.”King, Stephen (Edwin).” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2017, p. 1p. 1. EBSCOhost.Loveday, Veronica. “Edgar Allan Poe.” Edgar Allan Poe, 8/1/2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost.Nashawaty, Chris. “Stephen King Quits.” “Cover story”. Entertainment Weekly, no. 674, 27 Sept. 2002, p. 20. EBSCOhost.Pols, Mary. “Stephen King to Be Honored with National Medal of Arts.” Portland Press Herald (ME), 04 Sept. 2015. EBSCOhost.Ramsey, Peggy. “Stephen King.” Stephen King, Jan. 2005, p. 1. EBSCOhost.”Raven, the.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2017, p. 1p. 1. EBSCOhost.Williams, Wilda. “Edgar Awards 2015.” Library Journal, vol. 140, no. 10, 6/1/2015, p. 78. EBSCOhost.