Narrative Poetry as Much More Than a Series of Interesting Tales

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Narrative Poetry as Much More Than a Series of Interesting Tales

Narrative poems have been around for hundreds of years and they all

tell a story. Narrative poems were spoken out loud and not written

down (usually because most people were illiterate), they were mainly

told at night as it would add to a more mysterious atmosphere. We

believe they have been around for hundreds of years, maybe even longer

as none were written down until today.

The titles, 'The Listeners' and 'The Highwayman', in their self's are

mysteries. The reader is immediately curious as to why the poem is

named 'The Listeners' and the same for 'The Highwayman'. Both titles

are similar in that they name something, but it's like a mini

description of that something. Many questions arise in the reader's

mind, and similar questions for both titles. Who are the listeners?

Who is the highwayman? What is their role in the story, what makes

them so important? These kinds of titles give you instant curiosity

and along with curiosity a title like 'The Listeners' arouses a

mysterious scene.

After the initial mystery of the titles, the even more mysterious

characters enter. In The Listeners, a traveller is introduced to us.

The anonymous identity of the traveller further captivates the reader.

The way he is called 'the traveller' and not by name gives the

impression he is a stranger who is probably new to the area. As a

traveller we imagine the many voyages of which he has partaken have

made him tired, worn out, and weary. We expect he just travels from

place to place, with nothing but his horse's company. The reader is

immediately questioning the Traveller's motives. ...

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... these kinds or lines are assured to give tension and as we all know,

the main part to a horror story is tension, will it happen won't it

happen all you can do is read on. In the final verses we learn that

the ghosts of Bess and the Highwayman still meet in the moonlight,

this gives the reader an eerie sensation and a feeling of fright, but

also a romantic image in their minds. Again signs of classic tradition


Alfred Noyes and Walter De La Mare successfully achieved in creating

two mysterious and haunting atmospheres in 'The Highwayman' and 'The

Listeners' using some very different and some very similar techniques

which gave the poems a good and energetic feel. Proving the fact that

yes narrative poetry is more that some interesting tales as they hold

feelings and deep concept of real life, but with a twist.

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