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An Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

Updated on October 5, 2019
Rhylee Suyom profile image

Rhylee Suyom has hopped in three different worlds: the academe, the corporate, and the media. He enjoys being with nature and his family.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe and The Raven: An Analysis

A person may go through a lot in dealing with a lost love. This may be in forms of going through flashbacks and from one's memory lane, and even imagining fictional events that will never happen. Edgar Allan Poe is regarded as “one of the most important and influential American writers of the 19th century” (Edgar Allan Poe Museum, N.d.). He presented the pain through the poem “The Raven” with how he went through various emotions as he surfs through his memories but gets slapped by reality.

Dissecting the Raven

The poem starts at midnight, the persona was reading and nearly sleeping when someone or something knocked on his door which turned out to be a raven. He was about to fall asleep when the knocking took the sleepiness out of him. The transition of the narrative moves from being half-awake to being startled by the knocking at the door. From there, he began to fight with his own feelings and memories. It has been a moment of push and pull and the convincing that Lenore will never be with him anymore since she already died. He began talking to himself as he recalls his sorrows. It was staying at present while recollecting through his pains because of the death of a loved one.

Love, Memory, and Reality in the Poem

Love, memory, and reality work all throughout the context of the poem. Love was prevalent all throughout the poem as the persona expresses the pain that he feels because he was left by the person he loves; this is highlighted in the line “sorrow for the lost Lenore” (Poe, 2019). More than the pain, was the presence of love despite the absence of the object of his love --- Lenore. He repetitively shows this through mentioning “Lenore” all throughout the poem. She was described as the “rare and radiant maiden” named by the angels. He knew that she was dead, but he has been having difficulty in accepting that his love is lost and she will neither return nor someone will reciprocate his affection and devotion.

Memory has been working all throughout the poem as he shifts his emotions and his consciousness from reality to pensiveness. He was reading a book until he was woken up by the knocking which he eventually knew there was “darkness there and nothing more” (Poe, 2019). He proceeded to going into the state of wallowing the concept that he lost someone. The entire atmosphere was sullenness, denial, and self-fighting.

The raven kept on saying “Nevermore” all throughout the poem which is a constant obnoxious strike on the heart of the persona as reality is being pushed to his consciousness. It serves as a signal to go back to the present before he gets to drift to the distant past or to his feelings towards Lenore which will never be reciprocated. The fight or struggle enters the scene as he says that “the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ‘Lenore’?” (Poe, 2006). He went into his memory whenever he gets to recall Lenore and whenever he hears the word from the raven, he suddenly snaps back to reality.

The rest of the poem dealt with the pushing away of reality and denying of the truth. This can be easily noticed through the constant attempts to send the raven away until he accepts the fact that in reality ,he cannot be change the last lines “…my soul from out that shadow that lies floating/on the floor:/Shall be lifted-nevermore!” (Poe, 2006). He finally accepts the reality that he can never shove away the pain just like how he attempts to send the bird away.

Conclusion

“The Raven” is a painful poem of acceptance where the persona would have to undergo the struggle that even if the cause of pain is something that he wants to remove or forget, eventually he must surrender to. He then gives in where love was made alive through memory-recall, and gradually embraces to reality and the acceptance that something will never be regained despite the constant denial and resistance. The poem was a perfect example of facing reality despite all the hopes and memories attached to the former source of happiness.

Reference

“Who Was Edgar Allan Poe?” Poe's Biography | Edgar Allan Poe Museum, www.poemuseum.org/who-was-edgar-allan-poe.

Poe, Edgar Allan. (2019). “The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48860/the-raven

Poe, Edgar Allan. (2006). The Best of Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, and 30 Others.” Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classic. Pp. 1 – 216. Print.

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    • Rhylee Suyom profile imageAUTHOR

      Professor S 

      19 months ago from Angeles City, Pampanga, PHILIPPINES

      Thank you Lorna.

      must admit that I have desperately tried copying Mr. Poe's innate ability to mirror a part of his soul to his words and lines yet I often found myself and my creations unwanted and unsatisfactory.

      There truly is only one Edgar Allan Poe.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      19 months ago

      Of all his works this is the one I truly admire and for all the reasons you have written about. Excellent article.

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