Edgar Allan Poe (the Raven) Essay

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Pages: 6

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"
Poe's "The Raven" is not only an American classic, it's a favorite of high school students around the world, as well as their teachers. That being said, it's still poetry and therefore can be difficult to understand. Read this summary to review the contents and get a better understanding. * Stanzas: 1-2
Make everyone in class think you're really smart when you bust out everything you've learned in this summary:
Stanza 1: It's late. The poem's speaker is tired and weak, reading an old collection of folklore (note that Ravens are prevalent in folklore). As he's about to fall asleep, he hears something tapping at his door. The speaker, somewhat startled, consoles himself by muttering "tis some visitor" and
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He asks the raven its name and he replies, "Nevermore."
Analysis: We are presented with symbols of night and death in stanza 8: the "ebony" bird; "grave and stern decorum"; "nightly shore"; "Night's Plutonian (the Roman underworld) shore."
Stanza 9: The narrator marvels at this strange bird who has entered his room.
Analysis: Our bewildered narrator has no idea what to make of this bird, much like I'm not sure what to say about this stanza. * Stanzas: 10-12
Stanza 10: The Raven just sits there and says "nevermore." The narrator, a little spooked by the entire episode mutters the bird will probably just leave tomorrow.
Analysis: There is something in the word "nevermore" that brings despair to the narrator. He believes the raven is pouring out his soul with each utterance of the word, similar to the pouring out of the narrator's soul as he longs for the return of Lenore.
Stanza 11: The narrator rationalizes that the raven's repetition of "nevermore" has nothing to do with his own hopeless state, and that the word is the only one the bird knows. He creates a plausible story about the bird probably having escaped from his master who met an ill fate at sea.
Analysis: The narrator experiences the paranoia/denial cycle. He unreasonably believes the raven is some bad omen, which it then becomes, omens being nothing more than a negative psychological interpretation of an otherwise neutral event, followed by a complete negation with an implausible explanation. The