What is the author trying to point out in "The Raven"?

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katemschultz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It depends on how you wish to interpret the raven in the story. Is the raven really speaking to the speaker of the poem? If so, the author (Poe) is combining a realistic world with one of the supernatural, linking the sadness associated with death to the supernatural world. The speaker is grieving for his "lost Lenore" and it is almost as if the raven has been sent as messenger from the underworld to torment the speaker even more.

If you believe the raven just happened to come into this man's room at an inopportune time and that the raven is not speaking--that it is just a figment of the speaker imagination--the theme of the poem changes slightly. The speaker of the poem is obviously so distraught over the death of his Lenore that he seeks to find answers anywhere, even in a bird that flew in his window. He has been grieving and mourning and remembering Lenore so intensely for so long that it drives him mad--and to hear a bird speak the words he is unable to accept.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator
What is the author trying to point out in "The Raven"?

What is the author trying to point out in "The Raven"?

Among other achievements, the poem is a detailed examination of grief and depression. Poe's protagonist moves through several specific stages of grief until he sinks into hopelessness at the poem's conclusion. He does not come to accept his loss; he only suffers and attempts to deal with it. Poe may be pointing out the depth of hopeless suffering that can accompany depression, its all-encompassing nature. There is not even the shadow of a glimmer of hope at the poem's conclusion.

Also, the poem stands as an example of Poe's philosophy of the writer's achieving a single effect in a work of literature. From beginning to end, Poe creates the single emotional effect of despair.

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poe uses the Raven to illustrate the main character's descent into grief-stricken madness. As he mourns the loss of his wife, in comes the pesky blackbird, who serves only to remind him of his loss. There is some speculation about whether the Raven was simply a halucination, or if he was "really" there, but either way, whether the bird was an apparition or a flesh-and-blood creature, his function remains the same: to further exacerbate the narrator's sense of grief.

Think about the one word that Poe has this bird utter: "Nevermore." Of all the negative words that the author could have chosen, he picks the most absolute. Nevermore tells us that no matter what, nothing will ever happen in regards to the situation at hand.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a word:  Obsession.  As the previous post has mentioned, Poe strives for the single effect.  In "The Raven," the speaker is singularly in despair to the point that he becomes obsessed with his feelings.  And, it is this obsession that is so very desperate.

thewanderlust878 | Student

I think that the author, Edgar Allan Poe, is trying to point out a number of things in perhaps his most famous work, The Raven. Poe was a master of deception and the supernatural, and loved to include hidden and dark meanings in all of his stories and poems. The Raven is no exception. One thing that I definitely think Poe is trying to point out is how grief, love, and obsession can control and take over one's body and mind. The man was so in love with his wife, that when she died his grief consumed him to the point of obsession. The raven that comes in tells of this, and I think that's one of the biggest things Poe points out. 

Hope this helps!