“The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe
Selected Passage lines 1-42:
“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis the wind and nothing more!”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.”
SoundCloud Oral Interpretation:
1. The first sound cloud bit is my oral interpretation of “The Raven”
2. The second sound cloud bit is my commentary on my interpretation. Try as hard as I might I couldn’t figure out how to edit and add more to the first sound bit.
*Phrases underlined in passage are highlighted points of voice change*
First stanza: In the first stanza the narrator seems confused about this rapping and tapping at the door so when reading the lines I raised my voice in order to question what I, as the narrator, was hearing. Then telling myself the tapping I hear is only from a visitor, sounding nonchalant in my voice.
Second stanza: In the second stanza the narrator is really recalling on this ‘bleak December’ night so I draw out the “ah.” The narrator starts to become sad and overwhelmed with frustration as he thinks about the death; the dying embers on the fire and then his lost love Lenore. So as I read it I lowered my voice and added an angry edge so as to feel the anxiety of these emotions.
Third stanza: In the third stanza the narrator begins to get nervous about the tapping at his door. So when as I read this I tried to play off the noise by reasoning that it has to be just a person, trying to sound nonchalant but adding a questioning edge.
Fourth stanza: At this point I am no longer patient with the tapping on the door. Frustrated with the interference of my nap but also confused as to why there is this insistent rapping I raise the pitch of my voice and question who is at my door, sounding puzzled and questioning. After opening the door I pause to draw out the effect that behind that door there was no one, only darkness. I lower my voice and pause between the observation of darkness and nothing more.
Fifth stanza: In this stanza I speed up my speech as I am “wondering, fearing, doubting, and dreaming” about the tapping at the door. I speed it up as I go along adding more and more anxiety to my voice because I am becoming more worried and freaking myself out about the sound. Then I hear the name Lenore whispered and I lower and raise my voice in question rather I heard this or not drawing out the name with a wispiness. I whisper Lenore a second time but with more enthusiasm. Then lower my voice to make the point that that was all to be heard, and nothing more.
Sixth stanza: When the tapping comes again I raise my voice with determination to figure out what is causing the sound. Keeping this raised voice throughout the rest of the lines.
Seventh stanza: Then I am confused but relieved to see only a Raven. Pausing as I describe the Raven. Then slowing my speech as I describe where the Raven is sitting, lowering my voice, with sounds of relief.