What is the "chamber" like in Poe's poem "The Raven"?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The chamber in “The Raven” is not described in any one place, but as the poem continues there are little clues dropped describing it.  It is a mostly dreary room, but there are some elements of comfort including purple silk curtains and a cushioned chair.  The choice of colors, and the darkness, are all gothic elements.

The speaker in “The Raven” is sitting in his chamber studying a book of “forgotten lore” (line 4).  The chamber has a door that the bird can tap on.  The chamber has a fireplace where “each separate dying ember wrought its ghost/upon the floor” (line 14-15).  The curtains are purple and made of silk (p. 24), and there is lattice outside the windows (line 61) and shutters (p. 70), and he sits in a “cushioned seat” with wheels (line 123). 

There is also an interesting bust over the door, where the Raven perches.

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my

          chamber door—

     Perched, and sat, and nothing more.(line 78-80)

All in all, the chamber seems pretty typical and comfortable.  Pallas was a Titan associated with war, and there are several birds named after him.

As the poem continues, the speaker gets more and more unnerved.  It is likely not just the gloomy room but the dark night that causes his unrest, and of course his grief about his lost love Lenore.


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