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After watching the Trail of Tears documentary and reading Poe’s “That Man that Was Used Up” (1839), I’d like for you to reflect on what satirical message(s) or social criticism(s) Poe is potentially leveling at American culture in his short story.

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Question:
After watching the Trail of Tears documentary and reading Poe’s “That Man that Was Used Up” (1839), I’d like for you to reflect on what satirical message(s) or social criticism(s) Poe is potentially leveling at American culture in his short story. While Poe is often (wrongly) remembered as a writer of horror, many of his lesser-known short stories instead reveal the fact that his fiction routinely reflected on and commented upon pre-Civil War American culture — even engaging with such timely topics as antebellum slavery, presidential campaigns, economic issues, party politics, and pop culture. Given this insight, what do you think Poe’s post-Trail of Tears short story might be trying to say about American culture when considering the story’s thematic focus on the Indian Removal Campaign (“The Indian Wars”), technology, the ideology of ‘progress,’ and race.

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