Writing Techniques in Poe's The Raven

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Writing Techniques in Poe's "The Raven" Edgar Allan Poe uses several writing techniques to create a single concentrated effect of unending despair in his classic poem, "The Raven." The most noticeable technique is the use of repetition. Just as repeated exposure to cold raindrops can chill one to the bone, repeated exposure to words of hopelessness and gloom creates a chilling effect. Poe saturates the reader with desperate futility by repetitive use of the words "nothing more" and "nevermore." These two phrases, used in refrain to end seventeen of the poem's eighteen stanzas, drench the reader with melancholy. Poe also uses repetition to spark the reader's curiosity. He refers to the sound of rapping or tapping eight times in the first six stanzas. The unexplained repetitive sound helps the reader identify with the search for answers that the speaker is experiencing. Poe makes use of repetition to emphasize feeling with the words, "'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something at my window lattice'" (33). Repeating the word "surely" adds a sense of desperation concerning the search. Poe uses a gothic setting to create an atmosphere of gloom. The time is described as "a midnight dreary" (1) in "the bleak December" (7). The supernatural is referred to through the words "ghost" (8), "angels" (11, 81, 95), "Plutonian" (47), "soul" (19, 56, 93, 99,107), "ominous" (70), "unseen censer" (79), "prophet" (85, 91), "thing of evil" (85, 91), "devil" (85, 91), and "demon" (105). The time of night and the inhospitable weather outside allow no escape from the speaker's chamber which becomes a chamber of horror. Contrast intensifies the sense of gloom. The windy, bleak, December night is contrasted to a room full of books, ric... ... middle of paper ... ...anguage and a memorable singular effect. Poe's use of the first person perspective combines with vivid details of sight and sound to form a powerful connection between the speaker and the reader. Poe shows how the sounds of words can be used to suggest more than their actual meaning. The poem displays the impact of setting on a character and reveals the use of contrast as a tool to magnify descriptions. "The Raven" demonstrates how the effect of rhythm and repetition can be as hypnotic as the swinging of a pendulum and as chilling as a cold rain. "The Raven" is a poem better experienced than interpreted. Poe's words go down like an opiate elixir inducing a fascinating, hypnotic effect. Works Cited Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Raven." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Eds. Nina Baym, et. al. 4th ed. New York, London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995: 648-51.

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