5 page paper, Poe, Raven - Freshmen Writing Seminar Paper 2...

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October 18, 2006 Freshmen Writing Seminar Paper # 2 Constraints of Grief Grief is the emotion that has the power to bring a man to his knees and physically cripple him. Overwhelming sadness is also capable of tearing a man apart psychologically. The narrator of The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe is both physically and emotionally affected by his grief throughout the poem. Right from the start of the poem, imagery and symbolism come into play with the use of the raven, which has always been seen as an omen of ill fortune in European folklore and mythology. Even by just looking at the title, The Raven, the reader can guess that the poem will probably have a dark side to it. Through the raven, Poe portrays the extreme physical pain as well as the psychological aspect of the narrator’s grief for his lost love Lenore. From the beginning of the poem, Poe uses imagery to paint a picture and set a tone of depression and loneliness. Poe describes the scene as a “bleak December” and writes “each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor” (Poe lines 6,7). Already, the reader knows that this poem will be dark and that the narrator’s life is not one of happiness. Not only does the poem take place during the dreary season of winter, but amidst a bleak winter. Also, the image provided by embers burning out on the floor showing their ghosts brings the idea of death and the supernatural into the poem. The picture of a burning ember plays on the idea that the memories of the past cause ghosts in the narrator’s mind and are still burning strong. This opening fits the poem very well because of the fact that the narrator is dealing with ghosts of sorts and with the death of the person he loved, Lenore. Soon after hearing the tapping on his chamber door, the
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narrator calls out the name, “Lenore” (Poe line 28) and hears only that same name in reply. This provides an image to the reader of a troubled man calling the name of a person who is no longer in his life and hearing in response only his echo.
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