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In "The Raven", what does the bird intrusion in the speaker's life represent? Why can't...

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rokia | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 6, 2009 at 2:20 AM via web

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In "The Raven", what does the bird intrusion in the speaker's life represent? Why can't the speaker make it leave?

What does the bird 's continuning a presence in the study at the end of the poem signify for the speaker's life?.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 6, 2009 at 3:14 AM (Answer #1)

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Silverman quoted Poe saying that the meaning of the Raven is "Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance", that is, a memory that will not go away and is stricken with grief.

The protagonist is in obvious mourning, and misses the love of his life, Lenore. He is also apparently fighting a battle of whether to move on, or continue to remember what once was.  Hence, he has the same battle with the Raven. See how he wants it to "go away" but still seems enthralled by it; It is the question of "should I let go of this pain and memories, or should I retain them?"

The presence of the Raven at the end of the poem means that the protagonist chose to cling to memories, and live in state of mourning for good.

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 6, 2009 at 4:39 AM (Answer #2)

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The raven was invited into the house by the narrator of the poem. He is lamenting his lost love Lenore.  The narrator is using the symbol of the raven to exemplify is feelings of depression, decay and hopelessness. Other symbols of death and decay are the weather: rainy and stormy, the month: December, and time: midnight.

Since the speaker has invited the raven in, he is the one who must invite it to leave.  I think he is wallowing in the pain of loss. He has gone to the edge of human misery and has found it easier to keep the pain than to move on with his life.

It may be that the narrator of the poem is caught up in the nightmare of grief and loss and simply has no power or ability to make the raven leave.

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