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Word Count: 2,611
Throughout The Purloined Letter Edgar Allan Poe contrasts the intuitive poetic deduction of Dupin with the orderly mathematical logic of the Prefect When Dupins poetic logic outwits the Prefects Poe appears to convey a triumph of literature over mathematics However this apparent triumph of literary logic is underscored by parallels between Dupin and the Minister Both are characterized by images of doubling and both use identical methods to steal the letter Yet the Minister is depicted as a villain while Dupin is conveyed as a brilliant hero Despite Dupins success in discovering the letter when Poe mirrors Dupin to the Minister he reveals the double sides of his character and thus the multiple meanings within literature Ultimately Poe conveys that the true value of the purloined letter is its power to represent multiple meanings of both good and evil Throughout the story Dupins imprecise circular intuitive deduction is contrasted with the Prefects orderly mathematical logic From the start Dupin is surrounded by images of smoke In the opening line of the story he smokes a meerschaum pipe The narrator comments that Dupin seems to be intently and exclusively occupied with the curling eddies of smoke that oppressed the atmosphere of the chamber Poe6 Later Dupin speaks amid a perfect whirlwind of smoke 9 Smoke is an intangible curling whirling rounded image with a shape and form that continually change The disorderliness of the image that repeatedly characterizes Dupin is emphasized most poignantly when smoke literally breaks up the linearity of his sentences Why--puff puff--you might--puff puff--employ counsel in the matter eh--- puff puff puff Do you remember the story they tell us of Abernathy 13 The puffs of Dupins pipe with their rounded paths interrupt Dupins linear sentence They not only break up his words they impact his thoughts and his logic as well Like the smoke that curls and whirls in the lines above Dupins logic is a circular rounded deduction
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