The variety of struggles Poe faced manifested themselves in the form of substance abuse – however, the extent of this substance abuse appears less severe than is widely believed. For example, Poe mourned greatly after his wife’s death, developing a dependence on alcohol during this period; tellingly, he stated about his addiction that his enemies “referred the insanity to the drink rather than the drink to the insanity” (“Edgar Allan Poe, Drugs, and Alcohol”). Poe’s fight against addiction bled into his writing at times, where his characters seem to reflect their creator, such as in “The Cask of Amontillado,” where Fortunato is tempted to his death by his love of wine, and “The Black Cat,” in which the narrator recognizes his own descent into insanity but is powerless to stop it, cutting out his pet cat’s eye while drunk and later murdering his wife (Montague). Despite the prominence of alcohol in his writing, however, the fact that alcohol is painted in a decidedly negative light conveys Poe’s unambiguously negative feelings towards substance abuse. He alternated between drinking excessively in times of despair and promising to never drink again, but towards the end of his life, Poe was adamant that he avoid alcohol; in 1841, he wrote a letter where he stated that it had been “four years since he abandoned every kind of alcoholic drink” (“Edgar Allan Poe, Drugs, and Alcohol”). In fact, Poe became a member of the Sons of Temperance in 1849, who agreed after his mysterious death just one month after his initiation that “he had not been drinking” (“Edgar Allan Poe, Drugs, and Alcohol”). Evidently, Poe was highly affected by his troubled life at times, although he is not the caricature that he is often mistaken for. Poe’s imagination and creativity were unrivaled, and one of his most evident contributions to literature is his analytical process as both a critic and an author. There were two central points Poe believed to be prerequisites for good writing which he claimed to follow as well as judge his contemporaries’ work by: firstly, that the work had to create a “unity of effect” on the reader, and secondly, that each detail in a piece of writing, no matter how minuscule, had to be a product of careful deliberation by the author rather than a product of inspiration or chance (“Edgar Allan Poe”). Poe claimed his intention was to construct artistic ideals in a society he viewed as placing far too much emphasis on the practical uses of writing, an inclination which he dubbed the “heresy of didactic” (Montague). His insistence on formalism stems from his philosophy that through careful and calculated language, one may express, albeit imperfectly, “a vision of truth and the essential condition of human existence” (“Edgar Allan Poe”).