During the mid nineteenth century, it was less common than it is today to jail a man for abusing his wife and children. But during this time, reformers feared that domestic violence from drunkenness was becoming a threat to the prosperity of the country. Therefore, the Temperance Movement was founded to press the cause of the cultural trends favoring habitual drinking. Then came the Washingtonians, they shifted drinking away from society by taking a pledge of total abstinence from alcohol to become "sober, industrious men, with their families again around them, and again happy " (Arthur 42). Authors T.S. Arthur and Edgar Allen Poe help shift drinking away from society by writing narratives uncovering the violent character of an alcoholic. Indeed, by linking Poe to Arthur, we can begin to reread Poe as someone responding to Arthur and the Temperance Movement. .
Arthur's narratives about inebriation reformation are stories he listened too first hand during Washingtonian confession meetings. His non-fiction works are the most famous because his stories end with a new beginning. For example, in the story The Reclaimed, Arthur writes about a character that loves his family, but eventually abuses them. He goes off the beaten path because of his desires for alcohol, but later reforms and joins the Washingtonians in their pledge of abstinence from alcohol. However, Poe takes a different approach by telling us of a mans downward spiral into oblivion that leads to his execution. Both of these stories expose the effects of binge drinking and ultimately how it can lead you to a life unwanted. The purpose of these narratives is to grasp the attention of the reader with relatable stories that would surely inspire their recovery. .
Arthur's more reasonable and relatable narrative starts with the love of his wife and daughter. He has a profitable business and is proud of himself by the fact that he is able to "furnish my house comfortably, and provide everything that persons in our circumstances could properly desire"" (Arthur).