In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” both main characters were consumed over a murder they had committed or planned to commit. In Barbara Hamby’s “Ode to American English” and Tony Hoagland “America” each speaker reflects on their thoughts and attitudes of the American culture. Though Poe’s and Browning’s topic differ from Hamby’s and Hoagland’s topic, all authors yearn for and fixate over an object and their relation to it.
In Poe’s short story, his main character Montresor, is consumed with rage towards his long time enemy, Fortunato. The main character has some sort of delirium about Fortunato, he truly finds no good in the man. We know from the historical insight of Browning’s poem that speaker the duke had killed his first duchess. Like Montresor, the Duke feels no remorse; he in fact is looking for his next duchess.
In Hamby’s poem the speaker expresses all the things she longs for in the American society while not in Paris. It is interesting to note that some of the things she misses while away are things that general America does not like about their culture. In Hoagland’s poem the speaker is in an American class room and questions the American dream and what he has believed his whole life. The speaker is asking if he, himself really likes the American culture.
All four of these writers are trying to finds a sense of what certain objects mean to them. Both Poe and Browning find they have deep rage, but are obsessive over their victims. Hamby and Hoagland not only present opposing views of America but become preoccupied with their ideas of what America is to them.