Introduction

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So you’re going to teach Edgar Allan Poe's “The Raven." This classic poem has been a mainstay in English classes for generations. Whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time you escort students through the text, some teaching tips will help ensure that the experience is rewarding for everyone, including you. Teaching “The Raven,” especially from a new perspective, will give students insight into Poe as a poet, as well as a literary critic, and help them develop an appreciation for the artistry in the text. This guide highlights the text’s most salient aspects to keep in mind before you begin teaching.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Publication Date: 1845
  • Recommended Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Approximate Word Count: 1,100
  • Author: Edgar Allan Poe 
  • Country of Origin: United States of America 
  • Genre: Narrative Poetry, Lyric Ballad, Gothic Fiction 
  • Literary Period: 19th-Century Romanticism 
  • Conflict: Person vs. Supernatural, Person vs. Self 
  • Narration: First-Person 
  • Setting: Mansion, December, Unknown Year 
  • Structure: Trochaic Octameter, ABCBBB Rhyme Scheme 
  • Mood: Eerie, Sorrowful


Texts That Go Well With "The Raven"

“Annabel Lee” is another poem by Edgar Allan Poe that concerns the death of a beautiful young woman. Similarly to “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee” is lilting and sorrowful with an emphasis on repetition. The final poem completed before his death, Poe’s fascination with the melancholy endured throughout his life. 

“Because I could not stop for Death” is a lyrical poem by Emily Dickinson. Dickinson’s narrator meets a personified version a death: a man riding in a carriage. Though the style of the poem differs from Poe, readers will find similar themes of the incarnate supernatural and psychological exploration. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a novel published at the height of the literary Romantic movement in 1818. Shelley’s depiction of a monstrous creature made from stitched together body parts has captivated the world, surviving in popular culture in many iterations. Its chilling depiction of science and the supernatural continues to resonate with readers throughout the ages. 

“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It tells the story of a sailor who is eternally cursed by spirits after killing an albatross who led his ship to safety. Published about fifty years prior to “The Raven,” supernatural elements dominate the sailor’s narrative, perhaps providing inspiration to Poe in his own composition. 

Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë, one of the three famous Brontë sisters. Through diary entries and first-person narration, readers track the rise and desperate fall of Heathcliff, an English orphan. Following the death of his love, Catherine, Heathcliff’s attempts to take revenge on those who have wronged him, and his desire to see Catherine again, lead to a worsening mental state and a compelling portrait of psychological anguish.

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History of the Text