Chapter 14, The Sounds of Poetry Pages 785-788, Edgar Allen Poe, "The Raven” 1. What is the frame of mind or soul of the speaker at the beginning? What does he expect to see when he "peers" into the "darkness"? The frame of mind of the speaker in the beginning is someone who is fretfully napping as he worries over a lost love…
The speaker seems to lose hope that his love is in heaven as the poem progresses. He continually needs reassurance from the raven. His feelings are one of utter despair trying to hold on to something positive out of the situation. I do find myself moved by this poem. No one can prove a heaven or for that matter a hell exists. I have had people in my life die that I would like think are in heaven, but I don’t really know. 3. In paragraph 17 of his essay “The Philosophy of Composition,” Poe draws his reader's attention to several aspects of the poem, especially the refrain, the progression of the speaker's questions, and the versification scheme. He notes that the refrain "must be sonorous and susceptible of protracted emphasis, admitted no doubt: and these considerations inevitably led me to the long o as the most sonorous vowel, in connection with r as the most producible consonant." Look for other words in which the sound reflects and reinforces the sense, as this one does. Pay special attention to the alliteration, the assonance and consonance, and the internal rhyme as well as examples of onomatopoeia, such as "rapping, tapping" or "silken sad uncertain rustling." What other aspects of the poem do you see which are not mentioned or explored in the essay? One example is borrow, sorrow, and morrow. Another example is ‘thrilled me-filled me’. ...
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