In "The Raven", what loss is the speaker trying to recover from?
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The speaker is burying himself in books, in "many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore," in order to find "surcease of sorrow" over the death of "a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore." The whole poem is haunted by the death of this maiden. The speaker wonders if there is an afterlife in which he might hope to meet her again--but the raven replies to all such questions with the single word "Nevermore." In an early stanza of the poem, the speaker throws open the shutter and peers out into the darkness, hoping against hope that the tapping he kept hearing was made by the spirit of Lenore. "The only word there uttered was the whispered word 'Lenore.'" But there is no response. The raven with its single-word vocabulary symbolizes the painful truth the speaker cannot escape--that he has lost his loved one forever.
The speaker had recently lost his love, Lenore. (This was inspired by the actual death of his wife, Virginia. NOTE: This poem is not autobiographical.) In the beginning of the poem, he states that he was reading to ease his pain. In stanza one:
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
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