i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Love, Death, & Ravens

February 16, 2005

Pavlina Havoca writes, "As a common thread through the works of Coleridge, there is the theme of life and death." Um... isn't that pretty much the theme of everything? Life and death is a pretty broad subject range. I could write a poem about my sneakers and somehow relate it to life and/or death! As I continued reading, however, I started to understand what Pavlina was shooting for: relating to the theme of life and death, Coleridge is fond of using dialectical pairs.

Dialectical - "The process ... of arriving at the truth by stating a thesis, developing a contradictory antithesis, and combining and resolving them into a coherent synthesis. "

Okay, cool. The article mentions the dialectical pair of the raven with the rose, but, um, try as I might, I couldn't find mention of a rose anywhere in the poem. I did, however, decide that the pair in "The Raven" is the raven and the acorn. The raven is representative of death and despair. The acorn, on the otherhand, represents life and rebirth.

This article also mentions "the intertwining circles of life and death" evident in "The Raven." That is something that I had noticed in my initial reading of the piece: the poem starts with the destruction of the first oak tree, cycles through life and ends with the destruction of the second oak tree.

You know what I was just thinking? How long do freakin' ravens live anyway? I mean, trees don't grow particularly fast. So, being the dork I am, I did some research:

"The typical development of the tree includes a period of quite rapid growth for around 80-120 years, followed by a gradual slowing down.

The oak comes into leaf very late, often not until mid May. Acorns are not produced until the tree is about 40 years old with seed production reaching a maximum between 80-120 years. Oaks tend to fruit very abundantly only in mast years, which occur every 4-7 years. In other years, fewer acorns are produced, and in some none at all."


And then I found this:

"In captivity, both crows and ravens have been known to live for about thirty years - tops. In the wild, the average life span of a crow is 7-8 years."


Ah, well, you can't fault Sammy too much. He didn't have google. ;c)

Moira at 06:05 PM :: Comments (1) :: ::

When I read Coleridge, I thought he focused more on the depravity in man's nature and his ability to destroy life. There you go, life and death. Have you read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

Posted by: Neha at February 17, 2005 11:07 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?