Edgar Allen Poe's the Raven as a Gothic Literature Piece

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Callie Graham
English 3H p2
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I. Thesis – why and how Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven is a vital literary piece to the start of the era of gothic literature, and how it embodies the traits of basic gothic literature II. The basic elements of gothic literature

a. Intricate plot
i. Includes complex and complicated narratives, plots within plots, episodic nature, strange/fragmented writing, all aimed at producing the effect of a dreamlike quality b. Chaos of irrationality

c. Personified setting
ii. The setting so intricate, charged with emotion, and detailed that it becomes a character in itself d. Themes
iii. Terror and suspense
iv. Disillusions of appearance and reality
e. Use of diction and elaborate writing style
v. Archaic and formal
vi. Reminiscent of medieval romance
vii. Removes novel from present day reality
f. Mood of fear, anxiety, terror, and horror
g. Strong use of symbolism and double meanings
viii. Plays with insanity and reality, making the reader question what is being written and be hesitant to take things for face value, adding to the mood of suspense III. The Raven’s intricate plot

h. The entire narrative is written in verse and absolutely riddled with alliterations, forcing the reader to get into a rhythm of continual understanding. Poe uses a special technique of having the main effect be pointed out at the beginning of the piece, using the majority of it to deal with the aftermath. i. Plots within plots

ix. When first reading The Raven, the reader’s attention is drawn to the same subject as the narrator’s. Throughout the piece, the narrator brings up a character named Lenore. It is quickly understood that she is dead, but Poe never explains who she was in relation to the narrator, or any other detail about her for that matter. It is understood that her passing is the cause of the narrator’s overall mood and state of mind in the poem. Even though she never becomes a full character, she is a strong memory that the reader is fully aware of in the poem. j. Episodic nature

x. Throughout the play, the narrator continually hears a tapping sound coming from various entrances of his house. These multiple times can be seen as the transition between episodes. They bring the reader out of the narrator’s thoughts about Lenore and back to reality, or what he perceives reality to be. This constant change from memory to reality causes the reader to feel strangely when reading, almost as if the events written weren’t happening as they should. IV. Chaos of Irrationality

k. After reading the play a few times, a reader can conclude that the narrator is not sane or healthy. He is obsessed with the memory of his lost loved one, and this memory is all he has to keep him going. When the raven actually enters his house, he first receives him as if he were a treasure. Each time the raven repeats the poem’s refraining word, “Nevermore”, the narrator becomes more and more overwhelmed with thinking that the bird is no longer speaking nonsense, but the truth. The narrator begins to lose what was left of his mind. V. Personified setting

l. The Raven is set in the narrator’s chamber, a place of beauty and heartbreak. The lovely décor of the room is ghostly, reminding the reader constantly of the absence of Lenore. This is the place where our narrator finds the most comfort, and it is alive with the energy of grief, sadness, and insanity. When the raven comes tapping, the chamber becomes eerier, and when the raven finally steps into the room, the chamber becomes a prison of memories and horrifying prophesies. VI. Theme of disillusionment of reality and insanity

m. The biggest use of this theme comes in around line 85, when the narrator begins to think that the bird’s “Nevermore” refrain has turned from meaningless,...
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