A Short Story and Poem Discussion

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The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven, completed in 1845, is one of several respected poems by Edgar Allan Poe, a seemingly accomplished author who towered over his contemporaries in poetry in his day and beyond. As manifested in the symbolic crow’s speech, “Nevermore,” the persona’s voice is a simple illustration of the sound of melancholic despondency, after the loss of his loved one, never to see again (Freedman 24). As a consequence, it is not only important to examine the literal use of vocabulary in the song, but it is also necessary to debunk the Bird as a Metaphor for Sorrow in “The Raven.”

On a critical analysis, Poe prepares his audience through an otherwise peculiar setting of a poem, whose themes manifest in the metaphor of a bird lit atmosphere. In the first stanza, for instance, the Poet prepares his audience for the unexpected unfolding, considering that the persona is tired and arrives late, while aggrieved and lonely. The possibility of the persona dreaming is very high. The second stanza highlight how the persona suffers depression and that the incident happens in the last month of the year. The phrases like “bleak December,” dying ember,” “ghost upon the floor,” sorrow,”; do set a platform for the unexpected in the second stanza (Freedman 121). In the third stanza, while the narrator is frightened, the powers that make the curtains to flow by the wind and rise the ratios of anxiety are untold; “To combat the fear caused by the wind-blown curtains, the narrator repeats that the commotion is merely a visitor at the door” (Freedman 45). Poe escalates the anxiety in the fourth stanza when the persona opens the curtain and only finds darkness, with no visitor in phase, and it is at this point that the theme of the metaphor of the bird sets root, to create a platform for strange things happening.

For the most of the poem, Poe crowds the stanzas with metaphors, imagery, symbolism, and irony to add meaning and intensity to the mourning and the hopelessness in that atmosphere of gloom. The somber mood and the tone of melancholic despondency the metaphor of the raven brings on board is palpable. Indeed, the initial mood deciphered in the metaphor of the bird personalizes the horrible feelings of the persona; “All my soul within me burning” (Freedman 11). The famous brand of the poem becomes the grieving soul of the bereaved, following the unfortunate demise of Lenore. Indeed, the second scenario of metaphor is applied when the bird enters the chamber of the persona; “Not the least obeisance made he,” which portrays the raven as a superior and ultimate judge, whose decrees cannot be compromised (Freedman 116). Indeed, the metaphor of the bird soundly carries on across subsequent stanzas by the perpetual message from the bird, “Nevermore,” hence making the raven a burden and manifestation of the sad loss.

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

Faulkner ushers in his audience by pronouncing a considerable funeral that is happening, following the demise of Miss Emily Grierson. Except for the servant, nobody has been to her house for the last one decade, hence the anxiety for everybody to peek in. The apparent generation is not at peace with Miss Emily, considering that she does not pay tax since 1894 till then (Faulkner 146). Other than scrutinizing the similes, metaphors, symbols, irony, personification, diction , imagery, point of view, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and plot in the text; it is critical as well to discuss how the literary elements influence the audience and drive the author`s point home; scenes that provoke emotions and enhance understanding.

The house of Miss Emily is symbolically used in the essay. Because it was the best in the region, and it was built in 1870, this manifests that her father was a well-off individual who had the means to wealth after the civil war. The author says, “It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street” (Faulkner 151). Nevertheless, the house is later described as “an eyesore among eyesores,” which means the society is dynamic and embraces change, while Emily is static and dogmatic. Miss Tobe’s and Emily`s hair, the stationary and the pocket watch are symbolically used to define the confrontations between the past and the future, an occurrence that has put the present at a standstill. The stationery and the hair sensitizes the reader about time, and how Miss Emily has not heeded the same. Taxes and death are as well used symbolically. Taxes mean the financial difficulties Emily faces, and by far her being tied to her late father, even after he is no more. Hence, taxes symbolize the older ways of life.

The setting of the story is in Mississippi, Yoknapatawpha County between 1861 and 1933. The discussions are centered on Grierson, particularly Emily Grierson, and the last one in her generation. Indeed, Jefferson is an accurate description of the lifestyles in the southern states during the antebellum era. Faulkner uses the first person point of view as the peripheral narrator. The narrator is the voice of both the women and the men of Jefferson for respective times. The tone of the story curves around melancholic despondency on the one hand, on the other, the narrator is bipartisan, with the Jefferson occasionally caring for or alienating Miss Emily, hence a gossipy and confessional tone. The writing style of the Faulkner in this story is a detailed approach, ranging from the “thin, acrid pall as of the tomb” to the “delicate array of crystal” (Faulkner 149). The story ends on a disappointing and horrible note, because of the corpse of Homer Barron, deceased four decades ago, was found, “Already we knew that there was one room in that region above stairs which no one had seen in forty years, and which would have to be forced. They waited until Miss Emily was decently on the ground before they opened it” (Faulkner 148).


Certainly, for the most of the poem, Poe portrays the bird as a prophet, hence the artistic presentation of his work. Without bidding, the bird visits the aggrieved persona. Undeniably, the poet says, “his soul, metaphorically caught like a mouse in the raven’s claw-like shadow, “shall be lifted — Nevermore!” emphasizing the grieve that dominates the atmosphere of mourning (Freedman 98). In essence, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe is a tool the author uses to communicate to his audience the psychological, emotional, and physical harm death brings in the lives of those that get bereaved.

In his plot, Faulkner sets the initial situation by exposing the funeral that is ongoing, hence the theme of death and taxes. The conflict begins when Emily`s father dies, and she only believes after four days, she poisons her boyfriend, and he dies thus leading to confusing. The complication happens when Emily falls in love with Homer Barron, and the townspeople do not just understand how. The climax of the plot comes when Emily`s dream to have a beautiful family is rendered null, and she makes fatal choices. The conclusion is the realization of the rotting corpse of Homer Barron. Indeed, all the aforementioned literary elements lead to the themes of isolation, memory and the past, visions of America, versions of reality and compassion and forgiveness in the story.

Annotated Bibliography

Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Harbrace Anthology of Short Fiction. N.p., 2012. PP. 145–152.

Other than discussing the essay “A Rose for Emily,” this source gives an in-depth insight into the personal background and professional proficiency of one William Faulkner. The reference indicates essential occasions in the early life of the author, factors which tailored him into the revered literature writer he would become. Moreover, this source outlines the people Faulkner interacted with in his life, and how they are related to those in his “A Rose for Emily.” The critical events that occurred in the text and how they shape the themes, the plot, and the setting of the story are highlighted. Indeed, this source is a third eye opener to the reader, in that it lays bare elements otherwise implicit in the text. For instance, it is apparent from the source that Miss Emily is of the old south culture, and that is why she remains static in most of her social operations. Despite the relatively hard diction the author uses, this source remains a reliable reference to the text and this assignment, because of the extensive citations and detailed explanations it gives to demystify “A Rose for Emily.”

Freedman, William. “Poe’s The Raven.” Explicator 57.3, 1999. PP. 1-146.

This source discusses, in summary, the other works of Poe, other than the primary focus on The Raven, hence creating a platform for the reader to understand and appreciate that this was one of the towering poems of Poe. The source explicitly explains how the two characters drive the poem into heights of melancholy and despair. One of the characters is the raven, a bird that torments the speaker, a second character, and he feels terrible because he has lost his partner to death. The author of this source has tailored it suitably to help demystify the work of Poe, hence giving the readers a chance to understand the poem better. This source focuses primarily on The Raven by Poe, thus its relevance to this assignment.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Harbrace Anthology of Short Fiction. N.p., 2012. PP. 145–152.

Freedman, William. “Poe’s The Raven.” Explicator 57.3, 1999. PP. 1-146.

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