What Is The Setting Of The Raven

What is the setting in The Raven?

Expert Answers info

lrswank eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write12 answers

starTop subject is Literature

The Raven” contains several clues that tell the reader about the setting of the poem. They are found in stanzas 1, 2, 3, and 7.

In the first stanza, the speaker provides the reader with the time: it was “a midnight dreary.” If you reverse the order of these two words, you will find its description easier—a dreary midnight.  Therefore, the speaker recalls his experience of the Raven’s visitation occurring one unexciting late night, early morning.

Later in this same stanza, the speaker provides us with another clue to the setting; this one provides the place: the speaker hears a knocking at his “chamber door.” The speaker assumes that “'tis some visitor,” which shows us that the speaker can often be found there in his chamber.  The chamber is likely the speaker’s bedroom or a room in which he studies his books--his “many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.”

In the second stanza, more setting related to specific time is provided by the speaker: he says this experience occurred “in the bleak December.” (One interesting correlation here is similarity of the adjectives used for both descriptions of time: “Midnight dreary” and “bleak December” are equally gloomy.) With this extra description, the reader now knows that the Raven visits the man one midnight during December.

In the third stanza, one additional small description is given:

“And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain”

This silk purple curtain is one of the few descriptions from the chamber itself. The flutter of the curtain is likely an eerie occurrence that is meant to increase the speaker's "terror." Another description of the speaker's room--the setting of this strange tale--comes in stanza seven where the Raven perches:

“upon a bust of Pallas just above [the speaker’s] chamber door.”

This may be something you wish to note, for the spot on which the Raven perches is a sculpture of the helmeted head of Pallas Athena, an Olympian Greek goddess.  She is the goddess of wisdom, among other things. ...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 729 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Sarah Miles eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2014

write500 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

engtchr5 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write591 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial