Today’s Agenda • Finish Whitman/Dickinson Pre-Writing Worksheet • Anti-Transcendentalists • “The Raven” • Pre-read • Read & Discuss • HOMEWORK: • Read “The Black Cat” • Unit 8 Vocab [Allie, Toly] TODAY IS SO RAVEN
Anti-Transcendentalists • Edgar Allan Poe with Hawthorne and Melville known as Anti-Transcendentalists • had much in common with Transcendentalists, but were not as optimistic as they were • explored conflicts between good and evil, psychological effects of guilt and sin, and madness • some consider the anti-transcendentalists to be the "dark" romantics or gothic
EAP: Class Generated Bio • Drugs and alcohol may have influenced his writing – also his depression/own life were influential • His father abandoned his family shortly after his birth, mom died a year later of TB • Taken in by the Allans -- did not get along w/ John • Desperate so enlisted in the US Army under a false name to avoid debts • Married his 14-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm – she dies of TB • Everyone he loves dies • Death a mystery – found in the gutter (drugs, kidnapped, diabetes, robbed, former lover, brain damage???)
EAP: The Raven • Meticulously crafted poem • Follows a specific meter which uses a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable, with a total of sixteen syllables in each line. • Here is an example (the first line of the poem): • “ONCE u PON a MID night DREAR y, WHILE i POND eredWEAK and WEAR y”
EAP: The Raven • Uses alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, and end rhyme • And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain. • Diction: • chamber vs. bedroom (connotations?) • Tone created by: weary, dreary, bleak, dying, sorrow, sad, darkness, stillness, mystery, ebony, grave, stern, lonely, grim, ghastly, and gaunt.
VS. American Lit. Heavyweights • Some reviewers in Poe’s day, including poet Walt Whitman, criticized “The Raven” for its sing-song, highly emotional quality. The Bash in English Class!
Who Is Lenore? • It is possible that Lenore, the idealized deceased woman in the poem, represents Poe’s beloved wife, Virginia, who was in poor health when Poe wrote "The Raven." • She died two years after the publication of the poem, when she was only in her mid-twenties.
Discussion Questions • How would you describe the atmosphere caused by the setting? Which images in the beginning of the poem create this atmosphere? • How does the speaker’s tone change as the raven gradually turns from a comic figure into a demonic figure? Is there evidence that the speaker has gone mad? • Do you think there really was a raven in the speaker’s chambers? Why or why not? • What does the raven symbolize? Why did Poe choose a raven rather than a chicken, hawk, sparrow, or other bird? p. 370