The Raven: A Close Reading

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The Raven: A Close Reading

The entire poem including the first stanza, as scanned here, is octametre with mostly trochaic feet and some iams. The use of a longer line enables the poem to be more of a narration of the evening's events. Also, it enables Poe to use internal rhymes as shown in bold. The internal rhyme occurs in the first and third lines of each stanza. As one reads the poem you begin to expect the next rhyme pushing you along. The external rhyme of the "or" sound in Lenore and nevermore at then end of each stanza imitates the haunting nature of the narrator's thoughts. The internal rhyme along with the same external rhyme repeated at the end of each stanza and other literary devices such as alliteration and assonance and give the poem a driving chant-like sound. The musicality of the rhyme also helps one to memorize the poem. This helps keep the poem in your head after you've finished reading it, lingering in your thoughts just as the narrator's thoughts are haunting him. The rhyme also helps to produce a humming beat in the readers mind driving him on steadily..
In the first line, the alliteration of the letter w in the words weak and weary adds to the tired drained feeling the narrator is experiencing. The sound w flows through your lips with little effort, almost as easily as a vowel would. The second line repeats the phonetic k sound in quaint and curious which helps make the items he is reading seem peculiar. The hard aspiration draws attention to the words letting us know what the narrator is reading should not to be overlooked. In the third line, the n-n-n in nodded, nearly napping sound feels ominous. The repetition of the n sound feels drawn out and tired but with a little force. Not quite as hard as a d, it feels like someone trying to stay awake.

The poem begins with the words Once upon a like a fairy tale beginning with Once upon a time. However, we get midnight dreary instead. An opening more reminiscent of a ghost story. He is

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