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Two Birds, One Stone Essay

1152 words - 5 pages

One of the most important contributions to writing is characterization. The way to do so requires many different things, but especially great detail. If a writer can’t fully describe their character, then they don’t truly have one. Two instances in which writers were able to create an amazing character is Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. Poe’s poem is one of the greatest, and Trent Lorcher describes this when he states: “Poe's ‘The Raven’ is not only an American classic, it's a favorite of high school students around the world, as well as their teachers.” In Poe’s poem, he describes a desolate man who is visited by a bird who ...view middle of the document...

Pallas Athene, pagan goddess of wisdom, is symbolic here of human reason, learning, and the arts. Apparently she is an ineffectual diety whose powers earlier proved insufficient to lift this tragic man, even briefly, from his mournful state of mind. Now the ill-omened Raven sits triumphant above her. Like the allegorical Virgil in Dante'sInferno, human reason is limited and without divine aid and can ultimately be surmounted by evil.” (Juliana Cownie, 1986) There is no doubt that these birds both represent something deeper than what they are.
Secondly, Poe and Coleridge’s poems both describe their characters through their actions which helps define who they are. In Poe’s poem, the raven only does one main action. Gradesaver describes this when they write: “He asks if there is respite in Gilead and if he will again see Lenore in Heaven, but the raven only responds, ‘Nevermore.’ In a fury, the narrator demands that the raven go back into the night and leave him alone again, but the raven says, ‘Nevermore,’ and it does not leave the bust of Pallas. The narrator feels that his soul will "nevermore" leave the raven's shadow.” (Gradesaver, 2014) It continually said: “Nevermore.” To any question, that was the answer. In Coleridge’s poem he writes: “It ate the food it ne’er had to eat, and round and round it flew. The ice did split with thunder-fit; the helmsman steer’d us through!” (lines 66-70) There is no doubt that both of the actions taken by the birds are eerie.
Lastly, the representations of each of the birds in Poe and Coleridge’s poems are very parallel. Coleridge writes after the sailor kills the albatross the problems that occur: “And the good south wind blew behind, but no sweet bird did follow, nor any day for food or play came to the mariners’ hollo!” (lines 87-90) After the bird was dead, there was a curse pushed onto the ship. They didn’t realize how bad it would be, until they were facing major problems. In response to the raven’s actions, Susan Jaffe Tane describes: “Poe’s most famous poem was an instant success when it was published in January 1845. Reprinted more than ten times within a month of its first appearance, the poem thrilled critics and the public alike. Its fame inspired a rash of comic parodies, including ‘The Black Cat,’ ‘The Turkey,’ ‘The Owl,’ and ‘The Mammoth Squash.’ The dramatic poem,...

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