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Did Edgar Allan Poe really go to West Point like in The Pale Blue Eyes?

January 7, 2023

Did iconic poet Edgar Allan Poe really attend the US military academy at West Point like in Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eyes?

There are a plethora of exciting new titles available to watch on Netflix this weekend; however, few shows or movies can get the creative juices flowing quite like The Pale Blue Eyes.

Starring Christian Bale and Harry Melling, the film tells the story of a detective investigating a series of grizzly bear murders at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1830 with the help of a young cadet called Edgar Allan Poe.

Now, fans of the movie are curious if Edgar Allan Poe really attended West Point, or if the events shown in The Pale Blue Eyes are based on real life.


Did Edgar Allan Poe attend West Point?

Yes, Edgar Allan Poe attended the United States Military Academy at West Point; however, the events depicted in The Pale Blue Eyes film are entirely fictional.

Edgar Allan Poe first enlisted in the army as a private in 1827 and even rose to the rank of gunnery sergeant major, the highest rank a noncommissioned officer could achieve in the army. era, before going to West Point to become a cadet on July 1, 1830.

Unfortunately, his time at the Academy was significantly less exciting than the story told in the new Netflix film, although Poe decided to leave West Point by deliberately court-martialling.

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On February 8, 1831, Poe was tried for flagrant dereliction of duty and disobedience for rushing to attend trainings, classes, or church. The legendary poet would plead not guilty to the charges, which would see him fired as a caddy from West Point shortly thereafter in March of that year.

Interestingly, while Poe may not have had the kindest moments of his fellow cadets in the film, his friends at West Point helped fund his third volume of poems, many reportedly donated 75 cents to raise the funds needed for publication.


Pale Blue Eyes Director Explains Poe’s Role

Speaking via Netflix’s Tudum platform, The Pale Blue Eyes director Scott Cooper explained how “Of course it’s a work of fiction, even though Poe was at West Point.”

“What I’m saying is that it was those events that happen in our film that shaped his worldview and helped him become the writer he became – with the recurring themes dealing with questions of death and the effects of decay and resuscitation of death and mourning; all of which are considered part of his dark romanticism. – Scott Cooper, via Tudum.

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Cooper shared how he was introduced to the work of Edgar Allan Poe at a young age when his father was teaching English, “there was a lot of literature scattered about our house, Poe came into my world at a young age, and I was just fascinated by his works”,

After his directorial debut, his father would say to him, “’There’s a novel you should read; it’s The Pale Blue Eye and it has Edgar Allan Poe as the character at the center of an investigation.’”

“It allowed me to do three things: make a film that is a thriller; [tell] a father-son love story — a relationship between two solitary men, who live on the margins of society; and of course, this could serve as a Poe origin story. – Scott Cooper, via Tudum.

Cooper also revealed that his favorite poem by Poe is titled “The Premature Burial,” which “is a horror story he published in the mid-1840s, where the main character expresses his concern at being buried alive. , something which very often Poe concerned.


By Tom Llewellyn –

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