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February 13, 2006

Are we conceited?

Coleridge,''The Raven'' -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

This poem was excellent. As many of you put said on your blogs, you felt that the poem was about revenge and love of a family. I agree with this, however, I feel that this poem represents three levels of nature. First, the animal. Birds scientifically do not have the brain capacity of a man and cannot think and feel emotion. Number two: humans. Humans do have emotion and do have feelings. The third and biggest level was mother nature herself, represented as a storm in this poem.

"But soon came a Woodman in leathern guise,
His brow, like a pent-house, hung over his eyes.
He'd an axe in his hand, not a word he spoke,
But with many a hem! and a sturdy stroke,
At length he brought down the poor Raven's own oak.
His young ones were killed; for they could not depart,
And their mother did die of a broken heart."

The interesting thing to me is what Coleridge did with these three elements. He gave mother nature full, uncontrolable power, as nature usually has. But what is backwards is the raven and the man. Coleridge gives the raven emotion in this poem. He makes us, as Amanda said on her blog, feel bad for him. He loves, thinks, and morns. He has human qualities. However, if you look at the man, he doesn't. Coleridge doesn't give the man any feelings of love or emotion, period. The raven cannot take revenge on the man himself so he is happy when nature just so happened to do this for him. So in a way, it's like things are out of order. I think that we feel for the raven because of this mix up of roles in nature. I kind of like this technique.

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at February 13, 2006 08:31 PM

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Andy, I really *really* like how you found three layers in this poem, and that you noticed that two of those layers are inverted.

We will see this poem again later in the semester -- hold on to that interpretation, because it will come in very handy.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 14, 2006 10:59 AM

Good call... the man does act as sort of an automaton, just cutting down the tree to build his boat without any sort of reasoning or remorse. This is just like a dog eating your homework because its hungry.

Posted by: Mike Rubino at February 14, 2006 09:32 PM

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