The Box and Other Odd Stories

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Fox by Helen Oyeyemi : A bloodthirsty author is taken to task by one of his own characters. The narrator learns that his old college friend Cornelius Wyatt is aboard with his wife and two sisters, though he has reserved three state-rooms. After conjecturing the extra room was for a servant or extra baggage, he learns his friend has brought on board an oblong pine box: "It was about six feet in length by two and a half in breadth.

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Even so, he presumes his friend has acquired an especially valuable copy of Leonardo da Vinci 's The Last Supper. The narrator has never met Wyatt's wife but heard she is a woman of "surpassing beauty, wit, and accomplishment".

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The box, the narrator is surprised to learn, shares the state-room with Wyatt and his wife, while the second room is shared by the two sisters. For several nights, the narrator witnesses his friend's surprisingly unattractive wife leaving the state-room every night around 11 o'clock and going into the third state-room before returning first thing in the morning. While she is gone, the narrator believes he hears his friend opening the box and sobbing, which he attributes to "artistic enthusiasm". As the Independence passes Cape Hatteras it is caught in a terrible hurricane.

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Escape from the damaged ship is made via lifeboat , but Wyatt refuses to part with the box. He issues an emotional plea to Captain Hardy but is denied. Wyatt returns to the ship, and ties himself to the box with a rope. About a month after the incident, the narrator happens to meet the captain. Hardy explains that the box had, in fact, held the corpse of Wyatt's recently deceased young wife. He had intended to return the body to her mother but bringing a corpse on board would have caused panic among the passengers. Captain Hardy had arranged, then, to register the box merely as baggage. As both Wyatt and his wife were already registered as passengers, a maid posed as the wife so as not to arouse suspicion.

In writing "The Oblong Box", Poe recalled his experience while stationed as a soldier at Fort Moultrie many years earlier by setting the ship's embarking point as Charleston, South Carolina to New York. His wife, Virginia , had begun showing signs of her illness about two years before in Colt disposed of Adams' body by putting it in a crate and filling it with salt. Poe biographer James Hutchisson equates "The Oblong Box" with Poe's series of "tales of ratiocination" or detective fiction stories, a series which includes " The Murders in the Rue Morgue ".

Gerald Kennedy saw the story as a satire. He wrote, "Though not a major work in the Poe canon, 'The Oblong Box' delivers, through the narrator's grotesque misinterpretations, a clever satiric version of the detective hero.

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It is available at Archive. It is available at archive. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. New York: Cooper Square Press, New York: Metro Books, Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance.