In "The Raven," how does the raven get into the chamber?

Expert Answers info

Blaze Bergstrom eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write4,480 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

There are two approaches to this subject. The first is based on the idea that the narrator is speaking literally, and the second, that he or she is speaking figuratively.

In the first approach, if the bird is real, it came in through the window. The narrator threw the shutters open, and in "stepped a saintly raven."

The second approach, which is the most common interpretation, is that the raven is a representation of the narrator's perpetual, unassuageable grief. Evidence for this interpretation includes the description that the bird "stepped" rather than "flew" into the room, and that it comes from the past, or "yore."

In addition, that it speaks and repeats "nevermore" is fantastic. The bird also stays in one place, and for an unspecified, apparently long time: "never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting"--the only place a word is emphasized.

The description of the shadow cast on the floor and the narrator's soul being trapped in it are among the other indications that the bird is a metaphor for mourning.

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

chelseaosborne314 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write182 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

At the beginning of the poem, the raven attempts to get in through the narrator's door. The narrator hears "a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door," but when he opens the door, no one is there. After he contemplates the absence of a person, the darkness of the hall, he hears a knocking on his window, so he goes to open it. He flings the shutter open and "with many a flirt and flutter, in there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore." So that is how the raven enters the narrator's chamber: through the window. The narrator also makes a note of the raven's stature, saying that it had the posture of a lord or lady as it perches itself upon a bust of Pallas (aka Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom).

check Approved by eNotes Editorial