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EL 266 Poe The Raven. The fowl's happiness is dark

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil — prophet still, if bird or devil!" (Poe) p.5

The narrator is distraught. I feel that he thinks that the bird has flown on his bust of Pallas for happiness. Now as the reader, I realize that Poe really does not write poetry nor other short stories about happiness. He is the original master of horror. Even the presence of the raven represents some form of evil. Because a raven is dark in complexion, it has black undarting eyes, and it will not leave the narrator's bust of Pallas until the narrator's sanity is taken. Therefor the raven is a representation of death.
Poe has taken the reader from a sad lament to a lost love into madness. I feel that he does this by using the same words in the third and second to last lines of each stanza 4th line yore-5th line yore-6th line neverm-ore. It threw me into a word coma. I felt like I was entranced by the word patterns. The -ore never stops either. Until the end which Poe wrote "Nevermore" was ongoing. The poem I feel never stops. There will always be some temptation of evil when lamenting a loss.
As we discussed Tuesday that forms of evil are prevalent in many of the works we have read this far, The Scarlet Letter, Young Goodman Brown, and The Masque of the Red Death. Maybe not the underlying theme, but its presence is well known.
Is literary "evil" different from the evils we, society, experience from day-to-day? I feel it is. When I think of evil, I think of a murderer, an ex lover, and hate mongers, but literary evil can consist of urges and temptation. These characteristics are a bit more fantasy like. For instance, the man in the woods that YGB encounters is symbolic of evil. There really was no physical presence standing in front of him, it was YGB encountering evil in his mind. Was the path the right one or wrong? It was Hawthorne creating a choice for the young man. That is how I feel that "evil" is different.


I think authors have an easier time making a symbol for evil as well, rather than just stating it outright. If Poe simply had told us - this raven stand for ... - we would not be nearly as intrigued by his decline.
I would also disagree with you ;) I feel that evil in stories may be modified, but it really just exemplifies what we see in our lives. We see some form of evil practically every day. Whether we personally think it's evil, or the news speaker thinks it's evil. For us to see it symbolically challenges our views of what we perceive as evil. While I do see murderers as twisted, they may not be evil. In most cases I would tend to think they are, but there are situations where they may not be. Perspective plays such a huge role in everything we see and do, it makes things interesting.

I agree with you also, Heather. Your perception of what evil is will influence every symbol of evil you see. It all depends on what types of evil you have been exposed to. For example, some people might view jealous spite as a normal part of life, and something that is expected, while others would see it as evil.

Heather and Jeremy,

I have to say I agree with both of you, I know most of you are saying that's not possible. But if you look at the literary evil that we have seen in the our readings thus far they are somewhat similar yet different than what we experience in society. It is a little more fantasy but without having a real life experience of evil how are we to tell what really is evil and what really is good?
So I would have to say that the literary evil we read about is not exactly like the evil we see in society but evil is evil. There may be varying degrees of it but at the end of the day it's still evil.

First off, I love the phrase word coma. It reminded me a bit of a villanelle, just in the way the rhyme scheme is so repetitive, rhythmic and well, coma inducing.

Second, I never really saw the bird as evil, at least in the way the speaker does (Talking birds are pretty low on my list of evil things, well bellow the IRS for example). What I liked is that all the negative emotions the speaker has are pre-existing, but just brought out by the bird, and his inability to explain it. He tends to jump back and forth, at one point suggesting the bird was once a pet, whose owner said "Nevermore" a lot, and later jumping to it being sent by the "Tempter" (Satan, I presume). To me, the story seems to be about a troubled dude, struggling to answer the unanswerable (like why this talking bird is chilling in his house, or is there an afterlife where he'll be united with Lenore) through both rational and supernatural means, and coming up with nothing...or at best the unenlightening answer "Nevermore"

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