2About the AuthorAvi has dysgraphia, a handicap that affects his writing: He transposes words and letters. His manuscripts are often covered with red marks that indicate corrections in syntax and spelling. When his dysgraphia was diagnosed, he was told that he would never become a writer, but Avi had always been an avid reader, and in spite of once flunking out of school because of his bad writing, he strived to become a writer. In the meantime, he took up another seemingly unlikely career, that of librarian.
3OverviewIn Providence, Rhode Island, in the late 1840s, a boy and his sister have been abandoned by their aunt and are going hungry after a few day without food. The have come from London in search of their mother, who disappeared after coming to America. The boy, Edmund Brimmer, leaves his sister locked in their rooms while fetching some food. When he returns, the door is still locked, but his sister,.....
4Historical Information Much of this novel is based on the biography of the real Edgar Allan Poe.The character August Dupin is based on the main character in many Poe stories.
6Style (Point of View)The Man Who Was Poe is written in the third-person omniscient narrative style. Although the novel is historical fiction, the omniscient narrator does not have a historical point of view. The story is written as if 1848 were the present day.
8Author’s PurposeTo demonstrate the steps in writing a mystery novel.
9Setting Providence, Rhode Island 1848 It is recreated by Avi in rich images of old neighborhoods and wooden ships that traded with the other ports of the world. Woven into the images of the city are historical figures such as Edgar Allan Poe and Mrs. Whitman, the woman he hoped to marry. Fog plays an important role in events, hiding or disguising figures who move about dark streets and across the city's piers.
15Foreshadowing Was there, or was there not, a story here? (page 40) The newspaper noticesDupin’s similarities to Poe
16Edmund Albert George Brimmer Edmund Brimmer, as the story begins, is a very frightened little boy. He has been recently traumatized by the mysterious absence of his mother, followed by a long sea voyage to the foreign land of America where his Aunt Pru tells him he is not safe. Aunt Pru has passed her fears down to Edmund, and she has also taught him to always trust adults. But now that Edmund finds himself alone and unsupervised in a strange city, he must decide for himself whether all adults are trustworthy or not. His early inclination to obedience is gradually replaced by the realization that he must rely on his own sense of internal guidance. In this way, young Edmund begins to come of age.
17Prologue Summary (Exposition) Providence, Rhode Island - November 1848: In a tenement on Ann Street, a boy and his sister wait in a drafty room for their aunt to return. Edmund watches his sister, who he calls Sis, as she reads a book of fairy tales. Their aunt went to look for their mother two days ago and has still not returned. The children are hungry, and Sis convinces Edmund to take their last nickel and buy some food. Edmund is afraid to leave Sis alone, for their aunt has warned them that the neighborhood is dangerous and that they should not leave the room. Since she has not returned, Edmund realizes it is up to him to get food. Reluctantly, he leaves his sister to search for food and his Aunt Prue.
23DagerreotypeThe best-known image of Edgar Allan Poe was a daguerreotype taken in 1848 by W.S. Hartshorn, shortly before Poe's death.
24Epilogue (Edgar Allan Poe) Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 in Boston. His parents were actors. His father abandoned him shortly after his birth, and his mother died when he was three. A man named John Allan took Edgar into his home in Richmond, Virginia, where Edgar grew up. As a young man, Poe acquired a reputation for drinking and gambling and had a falling out with John Allan. Poe ran away to Boston and published a few poems, but he was unable to earn a living and so joined the army. Hoping to reconcile with John Allan, Poe entered West Point, but he was shortly expelled. This led to a complete break in relations between Poe and Allan. Poe moved to New York City and later to Baltimore.
25Objects/Places Providence, Rhode Island Avi, the author of The Man Who Was Poe, resides in Providence, Rhode Island and has based this historical fiction novel on several real events which took place in Providence in 1848.Narragansett BayThe climactic chase scene between the Peggy and the Sunrise takes place on the choppy, wind-swept waters of Narragansett Bay.
26Objects/Places The Docks The boat dock at Narragansett Bay, where Edmund and his Sis used to play in happier days, is where most of the dangerous action scenes in The Man Who Was Poe take place.Eighty-Eight Benefit StreetMrs. Helen Whitman resides at eighty-eight Benefit Street in Providence with her mother, Mrs. Powers.
27Objects/Places The Cemetery The cemetery on Church Street is located immediately behind Mrs. Whitman's home. No one ever goes to this old cemetery, and so the novel's villain, Mr. Rachett, finds.....
28Vocabulary Decrepit – worn out, broken down Dismal – dreary and dull Baleful – ominous, intending harm