The Raven The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe
Main Points • Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is a narrative lyrical poem. The poet creates the mood with his eerie scenes filled with noises and a bird that represents death. The poem’s story features three characters: the young man; the raven; and the dead Lenore. The setting is the nameless young man’s room. The time is midnight in December, and, it is a stormy, windy night.
The young man has been studying, trying to think about something else. He has not been sleeping because of his longing for his dead lover, Lenore, and his sorrow has almost overtaken him. • The protagonist hears things: rapping, tapping rustling. The fire creates images that seem ghostlike.
These sounds have made him feel such terror. He gathers his courage thinking that there is a late visitor at the door. When he opens it, there is nothing there. His heart and soul are on fire with fear. • He decides that the tapping is coming from the window which he opens thinking that it is just the wind. In steps a Raven very boldly. It flies to a bust of Athena over his door. The black bird lures the man into smiling. He asks the bird his name; the bird answers "Nevermore."
Proudly, the man thinks that his has never happened to another person. He believes that the bird’s name is Nevermore; then, he realizes that the bird just says the word. • At first, the man is intrigued by the bird. He almost feels blessed that the bird chose his room to come into. The bird seems alone and with much emotion he says the one word: Nevermore. • The man again becomes depressed. He feels that the bird will leave him just as all of his friends have left him. The bird states Nevermore.
Shocked by the repetition of the word, he thinks that the bird’s owner has taught him to say the word. He feels the owner must also be unhappy to teach the bird such a sad word. Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; Then… I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore – What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking "Nevermore." • The protagonist wonders why this scary bird is in his room saying this odd word. The bird says nothing; however, the young man begins to feel as though the bird’s eyes are burning into his inner being.
Suddenly, he feels as though the odor and air in the room is thick with the perfume of Lenore. He believes now that the Raven has been sent by some angels to keep reminding him of his lost love. He wants to drink nepenthe, which is an anti-depressant. Of course, the Raven says Nevermore. • The man asks the Raven is there any help for his suffering… the Raven states Nevermore.
Now the man calls the Raven a Prophet of evil... he asks the Raven if Lenore is in the arms of the angels in Heaven… the Ravens says Nevermore. • Of course, this enrages the man. He tells the Raven to get out of his room and back into the night, to not leave even a feather and to pull its beak out of the man’s heart. The Raven answers Nevermore. • And the Raven does not move but his shadow is thrown onto the floor; the man’s soul seems to blend in with the bird’s shadow. With the end of the poem, the man descends into insanity
What is the main message of “The Raven”? • The main message in “The Raven” is that we are haunted by our doubts, sorrows and fears. • The poem depicts a young student trying to study on a dreary night. He can’t concentrate, because all he can think about is his lost love Lenore. • Try though he might, he cannot distract himself from the lost love. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— • He tries to distract himself, but he can’t. The Raven represents his creeping doubts, and the overwhelming sorrow. He fears that he is never going to be able to get over her. • Death has a great effect on those still alive. When a person leaves us, we still have that person as a part of ourselves. The grief we feel is not easily remedied, and mourning is a process we all need to move through.
What poetic devices are used in "The Raven"? • Alliteration • Ex. And the silken, sad, uncertain... • Internal Rhyme • Ex. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary... • Symbolism • The raven
What are three verbs that show what the narrator of Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven is doing? • In the opening, the narrator tells us how he is "pondering" while he "nodded, nearly napping", and how he eagerly "wished the morrow". This all shows how he was in his study late wanting the day to end.
How the speaker describe the raven? • In the poem, the raven is called an "ungainly fowl," an "ebony bird," and "a stately raven." These are short descriptions which could apply to any raven. • He is depicted as evil.
In "The Raven," what is the significance of the word "nevermore"? • Symbolically, ravens are birds of ill-omen. By consistently saying, "Nevermore" the raven makes the man even more upset. Each question he asks the Raven, is answered by "Nevermore" and although the man knows what the answer will be, each question becomes more depressing. His demeanor at the beginning of the poem was weak and weary, but, by the end of the poem, he descends into madness. The bird speaks not out of wisdom, but it seems to be the only word it knows. Although he knows no matter what he asks the bird, its answer will be Nevermore, he continues to ask it questions. Stanza by stanza, the tension in the poem builds, then it is torn down again, proving there is no moral in the raven's "Nevermore".
Label each stanza with the following plot events: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, or resolution. Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore - Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.‘ ____________________________________
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. `'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door - Only this, and nothing more.‘ __________________________
Presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, `Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; - Darkness there, and nothing more. _________________
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted - nevermore!` _________________
`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting - `Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.' ___________________
Homework: Look for the definitions of the following vocabulary words: • quaint • lore • chamber • bleak • implore • token • obeisance • beguiling • decorum • countenance • discourse • relevancy • placid • dirges • melancholy • Ominous • censer • nepenthe • tempest • undaunted • balm