Warning: May contain spoilers!!
Okay, okay I know this is a narrative poem and this may be cheating a little bit (I may have to throw in another book at the end to appease my conscience), but I love Edgar Allen Poe and this is such a famous piece by him, I had to read it this year – sorry. It’s also pretty hard to review a poem, but I’ll give it a good go!
Throughout the poem, the narrator experiences a struggle between the desire to forget and desire to remember which really starts to dominate his thoughts as the poem goes on.
In the midst of losing his wife, the narrator focuses on the presence of the raven and turns to it for answers he craves. There’s many suggestions however, that the narrator is hallucinating in his grief . First of all, since when do ravens talk?
Poe’s use of a raven can be considered confusing given the narrator’s current situation. In Greek mythology, the crow represents good luck, but it seems the narrator is short of that right now. In many ways this could be used to represent a glimmer of hope in the narrator, but when the raven responds with answers the narrator is unhappy with there’s a possibility (especially knowing Poe’s writing), that the raven is actually there to mock the narrator in his time of pain.
I’m not normally a hug fan of poetry, but I think this is one that even non-poetry lovers can enjoy. It offers so much more in its context by offering an emotional battle and in depth story of grief and hope. I definitely recommend.
Next up: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.