Once when I was a little girl, a babysitter of mine decided to hold an egg hunt for my little brother and me in front of the house. We searched high and low for the colorful eggs and were successful in finding all but one. We went crazy over that egg searching in the planters, crawling underneath the car, and looking up in high to reach places, but noluck. The longer we tried finding that egg the more desperate our thoughts became in thinking she must have hidden the egg somewhere especially secretive. All the while, we ignored her as she said, “look its right in front of you!” After several minutes of searching we finally gave up and asked her to show us where she had cleverly hid the egg. She walked over to the car and there right in plainsight stood the egg on the car’s front window. How we missed the egg, I do not know.
Have you ever looked for an object, for example a pair of keys for instance, and had no luck in finding them? You think of every possible place these keys could have disappeared off to but you cannot find them. When you are about to give up you spot those sly pair of keys that were lying there right in front of youthe whole entire time. This idea of hiding in plain sight is a common theme found in several of Poe’s short stories, as well as Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. This idea of hiding something in reach and where everyone can see it interestingly becomes the safest place to go undiscovered. As humans we tend to make things more complicated than they should be. We reason that themost secure places have to be discreetly hidden away and hard to get to. As a result we automatically overlook the most obvious places. Although Poe’s Purloined Letter and Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl are two very different stories, they both share this same notion of outwitting one’s opponent through the use of hiding an object or one’s self in plain sight.
In the PurloinedLetter, the Prefect stops by one night to speak with the narrator and Dupin. Shortly after, the Prefect tells the men about the case he is investigating. He is searching for a letter that was stolen by Minister D-.Although the Prefect has had ample opportunity to search the premises he has had no luck whatsoever. He tells the men, “I have investigated every nook and corner of the premises in which itis possible that the paper can be concealed” (Poe 135). He goes on to explain the meticulous manner of searching he has thus far completed. He goes as far as to examine “the rungs of every chair in the hotel, and the jointing of every description of furniture, by the aid of a most powerful microscope.” (Poe 134). Even with all his fancy equipment and training he is unable to find the letter.
ThePrefect returns about a month letter still empty handed and extremely frustrated. By this time he is willing to do anything to find that letter. After making an offer to give money to someone who would aid him in the search, Dupin produces the letter. How is it that the Prefect and his men, who are trained in the art of investigation able to miss such an obvious place? Dupin states, “their defectlay in their being inapplicable to the case, and to the man.” (Poe 139). Unlike his friend the Prefect, Dupin does not need special instruments or a group of men to help him find the stolen object. Instead he uses his observations and intellect to find the letter. The Prefect had done everything but the most essential thing, which is rather than looking at the situation through the Minister’spoint of view; he approached the investigation through his own eyes. The Minister is able to hide the letter so successfully in plain view because he knows the Prefect better than the Prefect knows himself. He is able to successfully outwit the Minister because he is familiar with the Prefect’s way of going about his searches. Knowing that hiding the letter in an extremely hard to find area, he...