books, poetry, school, throwback thursday

Throwback Thursday: The Raven Essay

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.

The Raven

The Raven is a poem narrated by a man who has recently lost his wife, and is bereaved by his loss. In the poem, he is mourning his wife, when a raven taps on his window and he accidently lets it in when he goes to see what is making the noise. At first, the bird amuses him, as we can see in the line “Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling”. He then deteriorates into a sort of madness, yelling at the bird and freaking out. The raven is a symbol of grief and death, but it is ultimately just a bird.

The narrator projected his fears and grief onto the bird as an omen. He took the omen of the raven seriously, though it could not have actually been speaking to him when it said nevermore. He was correct in the lines “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore” meaning the bird is simply repeating the only word it knows. But in his grief, he makes it, in his mind, mean something worse.

The raven’s ominous connotation was intended by Edgar Allen Poe, but the narrator followed the stages of grief in his conflict with the raven, albeit in the wrong order. The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and finally acceptance. The narrator was depressed in the beginning (sorrow for the lost Lenore), he is in denial of the bird relevance to him (Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore), he begs it to tell him if he would see his wife again (Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore), and finally accepts she will not return. So he is less mad and more in mourning than anything. The poem is thought Poe’s way of mourning his wife, it makes sense that the narrator is doing the same.

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