With what emotions does the speaker first greet the raven?

Expert Answers

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Let’s set the scene of the famous Poe poem, “The Raven.”  The narrator is in his dark living room alone by a fire that is going out reading old and forgotten books. The flames of the fire cast ghostly shadows on the floor.  The narrator is nodding off to sleep when he hears a “gentle rapping” on his front door.  Because it is December and “bleak” outside, he can’t imagine who can be calling at this hour of the night and calmly passes it off as just a visitor and nothing more. 

As the narrator walks to the door, he starts getting a little scared.  His heart starts beating faster, and he keeps talking to himself trying to convince himself that it’s just a visitor, nothing more.  When he opens the door, no one is there, and now the narrator is really scared.  He whispers, “Lenore?” but there is nothing there.  Now his heart is really beating fast, and he is even more freaked out. He tries to calm his fear by taking a moment to settle down, and then hears the tapping again. He tries to pass off the tapping as just the wind, but when he opens up the shutter of the window, he sees the raven.  The raven walks into the room and then sits upon a bust of Pallas where it glares at him and repeats the word, “nevermore”.

The whole evening is surreal for the narrator, and because the setting is so creepy, the end result is that he is scared to death by the time he sees the raven. 

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