The author of The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe is widely known for his Gothic writing style of suspense and horror. Poe’s mysterious style of writing appeals to emotion and drama. His stories all shame similar themes of lost love, death or both. In The Raven the first major theme in the writing is loss. The death of the unnamed narrator’s love Lenore. Poe uses first person point of view in his writings to get try to get the reader to gain perspective.
“The Gothic creates feelings of gloom, mystery, and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational.” (The Gothic)
Rhythm is another important writing style that Poe demonstrates in The Raven. Within his rhymes Poe adds pauses to prevent the poem from becoming monotonous. An example would be;
“‘Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, ‘tapping at my chamber door
Only this, and nothing more.” (The Raven, Poe)
“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.
” (The Raven, Poe)
Rhyming is an important factor in Poe’s writing. Poetry is meant to be read aloud. If the words fit together and rhyme there is a more positive response from the listener. His poems have a musicality through the dreaminess in his rhythms meaning that Poe sounds good in his poetry and prose. The opening line of The Raven shows how his rhythm draws readers in.
Poe valued punctuation in its ability to prove a point. If the use of punctuation is correct, it allows the reader to feel and understand the full effect that the sentence was supposed to have.
Poe values the use of punctuation, tone, word choice, sentence structure, and figurative language. He favorites his use of dashes, semicolons exclamation marks and commas in his writings. An example of his use of punctuation would be
“Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore
Nameless here for evermore.” (The Raven, Poe)
What influenced Edgar Allan Poe’s writing the most was his tragic background, the lack of medical treatment and the way that mental illness was disregarded. Mental illness was never addressed or paid any attention. (“A Revolution in Treatment”) Edgar Allan Poe was not mentally stable.
When Poe was only three years old when both of his parents died. (“Edgar Allan Poe”) After their deaths a man named John Allan had fostered Poe but never really accepted Poe as his own. Never having a good relationship with his foster parent Poe grew up feeling unwanted. When he was older he married Virginia Eliza Clemm his cousin. In the following years his wife dies from tuberculosis. (“Edgar Allan Poe”)
When Poe was a boy he had been influenced by Lord Bryon, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. His first real passion was poetry. (“Edgar Allan Poe”) Those whose work inspired Poe foreshadows his later works that contain a surreal, mystick outlook in the poems. In “The Raven” Poe is able to put his philosophical and aesthetic ideals. “The Raven” follows a young man being harassed by a raven that only says “Nevermore” when spoken to.
Some authors that were great influenced by Poe were Baudelaire and Mallarme, Baudelaire noted in his introduction to the French edition of “The Raven”: “It is indeed the poem of the sleeplessness of despair; it lacks nothing: neither the fever of ideas, nor the violence of colors, nor sickly reasoning, nor driveling terror, nor even the bizarre gaiety of suffering which makes it more terrible” (“Le Corbeau de Poe m’a parlé”, Baudelaire) During Poe’s lifetime he was not even close to being as famous as he is today. Poe fell into a pit of drugs and alcohol and died in 1849. (Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy, Meyers) He had died poor and depressed.
The way that Poe demonstrates his utilization of symbolism is; the way that the narrator is activity projecting his own mental instability onto the raven as well as how the outside world sees him. The unnamed narrator is mourning the loss of his dear love Lenore. He hides away in his room and piece by piece he falls apart. The narrator becomes depressed and shuts down emotionally, lost in his thoughts of his now gone Lenore. The story never specifies when Lenore died so we as readers don’t know how fresh his wounds are. There are only three characters in the story but focuses on two, The narrator and the raven.
The Raven is known widely because of its thrilling story and dramatics. You can notice the ambiguity of the main character’s mental state from the beginning, but it becomes clearer as the poem goes, at the beginning he seems able to control himself and not to think about Lenore as much, he gets more awake as the narrative continues, both in mind and emotions. This proved by the way he ends up breaking out and nearly screaming at the raven.
When the narrator confronts the raven for knocking on the door, the man laughs to himself from the silliness of the confrontation acknowledging he is speaking to a raven. As the story continues, the unnamed narrator becomes more frantic and asks the raven if there is an angel in heaven named Lenore in which the raven responds “Nevermore” The narrator does not respond well and kicks the raven out.
I believe that the raven symbolizes fate. I say this because fate is inescapable. Fate can come knocking at your door anytime. The fate of his dear deceased Lenore looms over his shoulder the same way the raven did after knocking on his door. Taking the narrator by surprise, fate intruded into his life and took his love. Ravens are often seen as symbols for evil, death, and supernatural forces.
The narrator wants to be with his beloved Lenore in heaven. The narrator sees the raven as a symbolization of death with no afterlife. The raven symbolizes never-ending remembrance. The narrator obsessively thinking about her and speaking about her to a raven in hopes to be able to see his beloved again. He ignores the ravens nevermore, as a result the raven has demon eyes and it grows a giant shadow and hangs over the narrators soul.