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The Raven: A Literary Analysis

A literary analysis of literary devices on the poem The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

Taiya Kiley

on 21 September 2014

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Transcript of The Raven: A Literary Analysis

Literary Devices
Literary devices, a very important part of all literature and poetry, is used continuously to help the reader more understand the story or to give the reader a puzzle to solve. Without literary devices, writing would be dull and and less interesting, not being written like art, but something you would read out of a boring textbook.
The Raven
by Taiya Kiley
A Poem By Edgar Allen Poe
Of all his works, "The Raven," a wonderful poem, is possibly the most famous. The name of his poem was even used as Baltimore's football team name, The Ravens. Edgar Allen Poe was originally from Baltimore. "The Raven," is a story about a man mourning the death of his love and he is soon troubled by a raven, answering everyone of the narrator's questions by saying, "Nevermore." There are many examples of literary devices and elements in this poem.
"Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'"
This is an example of repetition. Repetition is a literary device that repeats the same words or phrases a few times to make an idea clearer. Through out the story, at the end of each stanza, Poe uses the words nevermore and nothing more, both words creating a melancholy tone to the poem. Both words have a negative connotation, showing the reader the sadness of the narrator. The use of nevermore by the raven answering the narrators questions also tells the narrator that he will have no hope as well.
"Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more."
The raven is an example of symbolism. Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense. Ravens often represent death or sadness, which it most definitely does in the poem. The raven continually saying nevermore, a word with a negative connotation, is thought by the narrator to be the devil because of how he answers the narrators questions. Ravens, also though to be a messenger bird, could have also been giving the narrator a message that that he will not leave the narrator, yet the narrator will never see his wife in heaven, though the narrator refuses to believe so.
"Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow"
This is an example of an internal rhyme, a rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next. While it seems odd, it gives the poem a musical tone as the audience reads it. The musical tone can help add to the overall tone of the poem, which is sad and depressing.
"Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before"
An alliteration,the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words, can add to the overall tone of the poem, giving it a rhythmic sound. It could possibly contribute to adding tension within the poem to get the reader more excited about what could happen next.
"And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming"
Similes can help get a better picture of an object or a person being described. A simile is a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid using like or as.The simile above helps the reader see the evilness in the bird, or the way the narrator sees the evilness in the bird. This can help how the reader views the poem and how they view the narrator.
:a literary analysis
"And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain"
This is an example of an assonance, which is, in poetry, the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in non-rhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible. This can be considered to add to the rhythm of the poem, creating a certain tone for the reader, making them read slower or faster.
"Night's Plutonian shore"
An allusion is an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly or an indirect or passing reference. This quote makes references to Pluto, the Roman god of the dead, or Hades, The Greek god of the dead. In this reference, Poe is trying to show audience many examples of death in his poem, to further explain what is going to happen or what had happened in the poem.
"To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core"
A metaphor, a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable, is important in showing the audience a more interesting, yet more easily understandable description of something or a comparison of something. The narrator is trying to provide a picture along with all the feelings that come with it.
Our Dear Narrator
The End!
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
This is an example of an onomatopoeia. An onomatopoeia is the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. The description of the sound helps the readers know what the narrator heard and can help add to the feeling of paranoia or strangeness when the narrator answers the door and no one is to be there.
"Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more."
This is yet another example of an allusion, Poe referring to the goddess of wisdom, Athena. This is showing the readers more about the raven rather than the narrator. The raven, although perceived as something devilish, might be all-knowing about the narrator's life and feelings and life itself. The raven, answering the narrator's questions with nevermore, is the raven knowing the sad truth about life and how the sadness will not leave the narrator.
Throughout the poem, literary devices are used to express the sadness that Poe is trying to show us. Although the narrator goes mad, seeing as how he was conversing with a raven, at the end of the poem he still tells himself that he will go to heaven and see his dead lover once again, the last line trying to overcome the melancholy that Poe had so much shown into the poem.
Works Cited
"Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"" The Poe Decoder. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. <http://www.poedecoder.com/essays/raven/>.
"Poe's Poetry Summary and Analysis." Poe's Poetry Study Guide : Summary and Analysis of "The Raven" N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. <http://www.gradesaver.com/poes-poetry/study-guide/section8/>.
"Raven Symbol | Symbolic Meaning ***." Raven Symbol | Symbolic Meaning ***. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. <http://www.signology.org/bird-symbol/raven-symbol.htm>.
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