The Raven Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven book cover
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How do literary elements heighten the impact of a poem? I stumbled upon a website that was all about The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. This question was on the website and I don't know the answer and I'd just like to know. So, how does Poe's use of literary elements heighten the impact of The Raven?

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Poe uses literary elements quite effectively to develop the mood of this poem. Poe is often credited with being one of the fathers of mystery and of Gothic literature. This particular poem creates a hysteria and maddening mood that makes us feel that the speaker is going crazy.

So, what are some of the elements he uses to create this impact of crazed mystery and hysteria?

The repetition, rhyme, meter, and rhythm of each stanza feels so patterned that it draws the reader in. When authors go to the trouble to plan out meter and rhyme, it impresses the reading audience and we often wonder what is next or how the author is going to wrap up a topic or stay on topic while employing all of those devices at once.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door— “'Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.”

Looking at the text of this first stanza, the internal rhyme of the first line and the napping, rapping, and tapping impress us. This also follows a story form or plot. We can tell he was feeling a little creeped out, he was beginning to fall asleep reading a book, and this all of the sudden, someone knocked on the door. This image of someone in between sleep and wakefulness also contributes to the mood because we can all relate to that time, it is like being awake during a dream. Since we relate, the impact on us is strong. Sometimes our minds play tricks on us during that time. Finally, Poe uses simile, metaphor and allusion throughout the rest of the poem to again help us relate to the feelings he is trying to describe. Because these are comparisons, we can relate. By the end of the poem, we can tell he's been freaked out by this Raven that must represent something from his past which haunts him. We all have similar moments of pain in our own pasts that help us relate. It may not be the loss of a loved one, but we all know pain and can feel his because of these uses of literary elements.

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