Identity Is Comprised Not Only Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Betrayed by the American compatriots whom he helped, he languished in England in his climactic years, poor and lodged by a prostitute aided by a former student, until he died on a sea voyage back home. His death was mysterious in that shortly before his death he demonstrated signs of both depression and optimism.

Reasons for his depression were unclear. His optimism may have been due to the fact that he had prospects on the horizon.

Why then did he commit suicide, as details seemed to indicate? Or was he killed by his friend who was a double spy? There are numerous details of his life that will forever be unknown since they remain beyond our lens of experience.

Another story that is riddled with mystery is that of Mary Rogers.

In 1841, Mary Cecilia Rogers, a 21-year-old beautiful Connecticut-born girl disappeared from her mother's new York City boarding house. Three day later, her body, badly bruised and mutilated, appeared in the Hudson River. The murderer was never found. Rumor speculated that she was either killed by a lone rapist or raped by a gang of murderers. Gossip continued, and it was later asserted that Mary had died in a botched abortion. It was the innkeeper who provided this alleged report as result of Mary's deathbed confession, but the details of the story remained unclear and the mystery continued to swirl with her death remaining unsolved.

The intrigue and mystery of the story resulted in Edgar Ellen Poe's tragedy of the "The Mystery of Marie Roget." Roger's death further became a cause celbre due to the famous politicians and journalists who visited her cafe (these included Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving and Edgar Allen Poe) and dwelt on her
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The situation generated a mini hysteria over crime that resulted in the Police Reform Act of 1845 passed by New York in that same city. The act called for closer surveillance and penalization of crime so that committing crime became more of a deterrence in the coming years. In that same year, another state law prohibited abortion although ti was never conclusively clear that Mary's death was a result of botched abortion. In fact, the case became even more mysterious when Mary's clothes were found in the water and when a pair of white gloves were found in the thicket. Mary had been wearing white gloves when her body was retrieved. Then Payne poisoned himself and died on a bench near where Mary's body had been discovered leaving a note that said "To the World here I am on the very spot. May God forgive me for my misspent life." Poe's book, however, claimed that it was a naval officer who killed Mary.

Some historians attributed the furor surrounding the crime to voyeurism of woman's body, whilst others attributed it to the lurid attraction of antebellum America to the sexual seductiveness of urban life, on the one hand, and to the sexual risk of that same life on the other. Either way, these, and all other presumptions about both deaths, are simply assumptions that are ungrounded due to our incapacity of living in the times and experiencing what they did.

We can read about them and we can speculate, but speculations remain ungrounded until we identify the event as the protagonists did. And identification of event is built on familiarity with extraneous surrounding.


Davidson JW & Lytle, MH. The strange death of Silas Deane, 1992

Srebnick, Amy Gilman. The Mysterious Death of Mary…

Sources Used in Documents:


Davidson JW & Lytle, MH. The strange death of Silas Deane, 1992

Srebnick, Amy Gilman. The Mysterious Death of Mary Rogers. Oxford University Press, 1995.

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