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Explain how women are objectified in “Annabelle Lee” or “Ligeia” in light of...

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hello87 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 13, 2011 at 2:47 AM via web

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Explain how women are objectified in “Annabelle Lee” or “Ligeia” in light of Poe’s statement, which follows.

In “The Philosophy of Composition,” Poe asserts that “the death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world – and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topics are those of a bereaved lover.”

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted June 13, 2011 at 11:33 AM (Answer #1)

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I am not sure if Poe's statement in "The Philosophy of Composition" is an example of the sexual objectification of women.  Is Poe's statement that the death of a beautiful woman is "the most poetical topic in the world" equivalent to saying that a woman is merely an object to be used for a man's sexual gratification?  Or is he saying that a beautiful woman's death is catastrophic because of the totality of her beauty, both physical and spiritual?

In "Annabel Lee" the descriptions of the beauty of the narrator's lover are brief and rather unremarkable.  She is twice referred to as "beautiful," and there is a mention of her "bright eyes."  This hardly sounds like objectification to me.

What we do find is a strong spiritual love between Annabel Lee and the narrator.  They loved each other "with a love that was more than love."  Their love was so strong that the "winged seraphs of Heaven / Coveted" them.  The love of these two youths for each other was "stronger by far than the love / Of those who were older."

For further information, take a look at the second link below.  You will find there a list of factors that can be used to determine if a person is being objectified.

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