Stormy Night

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So we've all heard the cliché "It was a dark and stormy night" which was originally the first line of the novel Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer Lytton. So where am I going with this? Well, the first few lines of Robert Browning's "Porphyria's Lover" immediately brought that line to mind. Lines "The Rain set early in to-night,/The sullen wind was soon awake,/It tore the elm-tops down for spite,/And did its worst to vex the lake;" (1-4) show the whole scenery aspect. This completely establishes that something horrible is probably going to take place.

Now, I know nothing about the original cliché that Lytton wrote and whether or not something horrible eventually happened in the story, but the reader immediately thinks something bad is probably going to happen at least in this poem. The tone actually stays throughout the rest of the poem and the reader just seems to get the chills when the speaker starts talking about the intimate details of this woman with long blonde hair. Overall, Browning does a great job of giving some foreshadowing or at least setting the tone that carries throughout the poem.

3 Comments

Gladys Mares said:

Thats interesting you caught the foreshadowing because I totally did not! lol I definitely thought the tone was creepy from the start but I didn't think he'd kill her. I have a feeling that the woman is more than a woman and symbolizes a point he's trying to make.... However, I myself can't figure it out. Good insights though.

Melissa Schwenk said:

Gladys, I didn't think about the woman possibly being something more symbolic than just someone who ends up dead, but you're probably right. I mean, the whole name of the poem was pretty symbolic as far as what kind of sickness and even the motivation behind why he ends up killing her. So I'm thinking the woman probably does, too.

Melissa - I feel like Browning tried to carry the reader along for the entirety of the poem. He begins by describing the setting, and continues through language. I wrote about it in my blog on my presentation and in my blog on the poem itself if you're interested.

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Karyssa Blair on Stormy Night: Melissa - I feel like Browning
Melissa Schwenk on Stormy Night: Gladys, I didn't think about t
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