Completely Insane or Madly in Love?

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ENG 2223

March 31, 2011

Completely Insane or Madly in Love?

Thesis: Although some scholars believe Edgar Allan Poe’s, “The Raven,” is another example of Poe creating an insane character, there is also evidence that this short story is simply an account of one man’s emotional journey of accepting the death of a lover, coping with his sorrow, and dealing with his loneliness.

I. Topic Sentence: First of all, the narrator clearly cannot accept the death of his lover, Lenore.

A. Claim— After admitting the loss of Lenore, he still thinks she is the visitor at his door.

Evidence— When the narrator finally decides to confront the noise outside his door, he says, “And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ‘Lenore!’ This I whispered…” (Poe 1027).

Interpretation— This clearly shows that he cannot accept the death of his lover; he goes as far as to believe that she could be the tapping at his door.

B. Claim— Although the narrator knows Lenore is gone, the presence of the ominous bird make him second guess himself.

Evidence— The narrator states that “This I sat engaged and guessing, but no syllable expressing to the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; this and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining on the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er, but whose velvet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er she shall press, ah, nevermore!” (Poe 1028).

Interpretation— The narrator knows Lenore has passed, but the ominous bird makes him yearn to know where she is. If the bird says she is gone for good, he is hell sent; but, if the bird says she is still here, he is heaven sent.

II. Topic Sentence—Secondly, the narrator is trying to cope with the sorrow of losing Lenore.

A. Claim—The narrator is overwhelmed with sorrow from the loss of his lover, Lenore.

Evidence— Alone on a dreary December Midnight, he is trying to ease his sorrow, he relates, “…I had sought to borrow from my books surcease of sorrow-sorrow for the lost Lenore…” (Poe 1027).

Interpretation— He is alone in December, consumed with sorrow, and desperately trying to ease it with anything he can, even reading.

B. Claim— He tries to console his sorrow by interpreting the presence of the raven as a sign that Lenore is not lost forever.

Evidence— Once the narrator sees the bird, he thinks the bird is some ominous creator that can tell him something about Lenore. He relates, “But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling…I betook myself to linking fancy unto fancy thinking what this ominous bird of yore…” (Poe 1027).

Interpretation— Upon seeing what he believes to be an ominous bird, he decides to try to converse with the bird. At this point the narrator starts to feel a glimmer of hope that he might be reunited with Lenore once again.

III. Topic Sentence— Finally the narrator is trying to deal with his loneliness.

A. Claim— At the beginning of the work, he is alone at night and this seems to be the loneliest time for him.

Evidence— The narrator states, “…I remember it was the bleak of December and each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow…” (Poe 1026-1027).

Interpretation—Clearly, when he is alone at night, he cannot sleep and yearns for daylight when some visitor might keep him company.

B. Claim— Because the Raven is not a sign that Lenore is alive, the narrator wants the bird gone and wants to be alone again.

Evidence—The narrator says “Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door take the beak from out my heart and take thy form from off my door!” (Poe 1029).

Interpretation—The bird has broken the narrator’s heart once again because he has no good for him pertaining to...
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