An Analysis of the First Two Stanzas of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven
Picture yourself alone one night. You are sitting up in bed, your legs buried underneath your comforter while you read for what seems like the hundredth time that same paragraph from Franklin for your American Literature class, and trying to ignore the storm that is only getting stronger outside. Suddenly, the power goes out, and you only have candlelight to read by. The silence becomes deafening, and you watch the shadows play across the wall. Unexpectedly, you hear this scratching on the door to your bedroom, but you are alone in the house. You tell yourself it is only the wind, or it's only your imagination running away with you. After all, there are no such things as ghosts. If you can picture this, you then can have a good idea of Poe's The Raven.
The first two stanzas of The Raven introduce you to the narrator, and his beloved maiden Lenore. You find him sitting on a "dreary" and dark evening with a book opened in front of him, though he is dozing more than reading. Suddenly, he hears knocking on his door, but only believes it to be a visitor nothing more. He remembers another night, like this one, where he had sought the solace of his library to forget his sorrows of his long lost beloved, and to wait for dawn. Meanwhile the tapping on his door continues
Poe's most famous poem begins with an imagery that immediately brings the reader into a dark, cold, and stormy night. Poe does not wish for his readers to stand on the sidelines and watch the goings on, but actually be in the library with the narrator, hearing what he hears and seeing what he sees. Using words and phrases such as "midnight dreary" and "bleak December" Poe sets the mood and tone, by wanting his readers to feel the cold night and to reach for the heat of the "dying embers" of the fireplace. You do not come into this poem thinking daffodils and sunshine, but howling winds and shadows. By using these words, Poe gives you the sense of being isolated and alone. He also contrasts this isolation, symbolized by the storm and the dark chamber, with the richness of the objects in the library. The furnished room also reminds him of the beauty of his lost Lenore. Also, Poe uses a rhythm in his beginning stanza, using "tapping", followed by "rapping, rapping at my door", and ending with "tapping at my chamber door." You can almost...