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What does the second stanza of "The Raven" mean in modern day? Also what are...

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jessigirl1991 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 20, 2008 at 5:26 AM via web

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What does the second stanza of "The Raven" mean in modern day? Also what are the literary devices for that stanza?

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

Posted November 20, 2008 at 5:43 AM (Answer #1)

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The second stanza is telling the reader that the speaker is recalling a gloomy December day or evening.  While he was sitting in his study, the fire that he had in his fireplace was dying out and casting shadows that reminded him of ghosts on the floor.  He is sitting down to read his book and wishing for the day to be over while he thinks about his "lost love" named Lenore.  That is a modern day summary of the second stanza.

Literary devices that are found in this stanza are as follows:    

There is assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) in line one -- "Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December" -- in the words remember and December.  This also exemplifies internal rhyme.  The second line contains personification in that the burning logs were "dying" --  "And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor."  Lines 4 and 5 contain alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of consecutive words) -- these examples are "surcease of sorrow -- sorrow" in line 4 and "rare and radiant" from line 5.

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