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Edgar Allan Poe - the End of the Beginning

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Professor Randell

Eng. 201 section# 1793

13 February, 2007

Edgar Allan Poe

The End of The Beginning

Edgar Allen Poe was one of the greatest writers of the nineteenth century. Perhaps he is best know for is ominous short stories. One of my personal favorites was called The Raven. Throughout his works Poe used coherent connections between symbols to encourage the reader to dig deep and find the real meaning of his writing. Poe’s work is much like a puzzle, when u first see it its intact, but take apart and find there is much more to the story than you thought. The Raven, written in 1845, is a perfect example of Poe at his craziest. Poe’s calculated use of symbolism is at his best in this story as each symbol coincides with the others. In The Raven, Poe explains a morbid fear of loneliness and the end of something through symbols. The symbols not only tell the story of the narrator in the poem, they also tell the true story of Poe’s own loneliness in life and the hardships he faced. Connected together through imagery they tell a story of a dark world only Poe Knows exists.

The story of the Raven tells of a lonely man who has lost his one true love Lenore. As he sits alone in his chamber nearly falling asleep, a raven comes to him. The man has many questions for the raven, yet all the raven replies is “nevermore.” Why is the Raven there, this day at his window? Poe starts off by offering insight to the surroundings of the house. He mentions midnight in the first line. In the next paragraph he also speaks of “bleak December.” Automatically I remembered the first line of The Purloined letter and the significance the time of month and day had on the story. I believe midnight and December brings up the idea of New Years Eve. The end as well as the begging to many things. It brings up the thought of a Winter darkness, and loneliness for some. Before the story even starts Poe makes you imagine what time of year it is and the feelings those seasons bring. The end of the year marks many holidays for us, with holidays comes family and friends. I believe Poe chooses this time of year to show the reader the narrator has absolutely no one to spend time with. The most important symbol used in the story is the raven. The Raven is know for its dark mysteriousness, something Poe played to his advantage. Also rarely do you see a raven with others, they are somewhat solitary creatures much like the narrator in the story. Already through these two symbols the reader feels like there in a dark lonely place.

As the narrator explains his chamber he speaks of beautiful furniture and dйcor. It must have been a place he shared with his lost Lenore. It is the only beauty Poe speaks of in this story. Otherwise Poe would make it feel dark and dismal much like the narrator feels before the raven comes tapping. Yet the word chamber brings up thoughts of solitary confinement, and the loneliness the narrator now feels with out his lost love. Poe could have used another word besides chamber to describe where the narrator was staying, maybe chamber was the word they used back in the 1800‘s. In the chamber, the Raven “perched upon a bust of Pallas.” Most know the Pallas, through Greek mythology as the

goddess of wisdom. I found myself wondering, how can it be used in symbolism with the bird if the bird only repeats itself? The raven is anything but wise, unless he has a reason to only mutter one sentence. This statue of the Pallas instead holds the secrets of the chamber, the good and bad times the narrator had with his lost Lenore. The Pallas is wise because it knows the narrator better than he knows himself. The Pallas has watched him through the cycles of his life, from happiness when Lenore was alive, to the sadness when she is taken from him.

Lenore herself is an important symbol. She is present in many occasions, wither it be the “rustling of each purple curtain.” Or even the “tapping at my chamber door.” She represents the happiness the narrator once felt. She also represents the change that comes and the loneliness that follows change. If the reader had an idea how Lenore died maybe we could gain insight to the narrators feelings a bit more. Was she murder? Was it an accident? Knowing what happened to Lenore could justify why the narrator is so miserable without her. Or maybe he just truly misses her. Throughout the story the raven takes on many more tasks. At one point the narrator thinks the raven has been sent by Lenore. It could very well be, “Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad into fancy.” The raven actually made him smile. Yet I believe the raven is a creature of bad omen that represents the on

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