What is the significance of the raven in The Raven?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The significance of Edgar Allen Poe actually stating that the bird in his Lenore work is a raven is that he had to use a bird that could 'talk.' Of course, no bird can actually converse with humans in a meaningful way, but it was enough to use a bird that could be taught to say a few 'words' as in his confused state, to the mourner in his half-dream state, this would have made sense. It would have been silly, for example, to use a robin or a swan. Ravens, as members of the crow family, are birds of high intelligence and can be taught to repeat sounds to which we humans attach significance, and to do tricks. I have read of Poe referring to a parrot also, and thought that this gaudy, comical bird with it's bright colors would have added completely the wrong tone.

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James Kelley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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herappleness's opening statement in her answer to your question caught my eye: "Historically in many cultures the raven is seen as a sign that evil and unpleasant events are about to occur." I'm sure this...

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