Crazy Room Colors

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I already blogged about Poe's "Masque of the Red Death," and talked a little bit about Romanticism and Realism, but here I decided to tackle the colors of the rooms, or rather my opinion of them. I honestly think that Poe included them for two reasons: First, I think it really shows the oppulence of the room. It was far more extravagent to have colored lighting back when you couldn't just buy a 60 watt bulb in any color you want for a couple bucks.

Second, it screws with the reader, creating a great deal of ambiguity. While I don't really think he had any specific symbolism in mind behind the colors (except the obvious black in the one room), he was definately well aware that people read all sorts of different things into colors. Colors are symbolic of all sorts of different things, green for example, is often associated with envy. However, one can also be green around the gills, when feeling sick. In Dickenson's poetry, green is typically refering to nature, and growth, maybe rebirth too. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the green is also nature, but not a good pretty nice nature, but rather a magical, somewhat sinister nature. So, what does green mean this time? Who knows? There is evidence to support most of the previous suggestions: the envy of those excluded from the party? the sickness of the red death? rebirth? Evil/magical/sinister nature which disease might be part of? At least the lack of clear answer should provide fodder for literary essays for the next several centuries, or at least a time when they develop the technology necessary to reanimate Poe's corpse and get a straight answer out of him.

This isn't to say that there is anything wrong with it. In fact, the lack of a clear answer makes the reader good literature should.  

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