All posts by taydornin

Dickinson, “It Was Not Death, For I Stood Up”

It was not Death, for I stood up,

And all the Dead, lie down –

It was not Night, for all the Bells

Put out their Tongues, for Noon.


It was not Frost, for on my Flesh

I felt Siroccos – crawl –            siroccos- unrelenting hot Saharan winds

Nor Fire – for just my Marble feet

Could keep a Chancel, cool –           chancel- space by alter in church for clergy

And yet, it tasted, like them all,

The Figures I have seen

Set orderly, for Burial,

Reminded me, of mine –


As if my life were shaven,

And fitted to a frame,

And could not breathe without a key,

And ’twas like Midnight, some –


When everything that ticked – has stopped –

And Space stares all around –

Or Grisly frosts – first Autumn morns,                                  grisly- formidable, grim

Repeal the Beating Ground –


But, most, like Chaos – Stopless – cool –

Without a Chance, or Spar –

Or even a Report of Land –

To Justify – Despair.

We know what this poem is not about; it’s not about her dying but it sure did feel like she was. She goes from bad to worse throughout the poem. She goes on throughout the poem saying what her condition is not which I thought was an interesting approach. Normally when you’re talking about something that you’re going through you don’t say what it is not rather you come right out and say what it is. I think Dickinson’s method makes us want to read through the rest of the poem because we know so much about what her condition is not that we want to know that it is which we find out is despair. Throughout the whole poem Dickinson refers to her condition as ‘it,’ almost as if she trying to figure out what ‘it’ is too. She knows what ‘it’ isn’t but she can’t figure out what ‘it’ is. That is until the ending when she says “To Justify – Despair.” Perhaps the line there is a pause upon revealing that ‘it’ is despair.

via Dickinson, “It Was Not Death, For I Stood Up”.

Oral Interpretation: The Raven

“The Raven”  by Edgar Allen Poe

the raven

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.

Post-colonialism Disabilities

Hop-Frog & Post-Colonialism Disabilities

Dwarfs were as common at court, in those days, as fools; and many monarchs would have found it difficult to get through their days (days are rather longer at court than elsewhere) without both a jester to laugh with, and a dwarf to laugh at. But, as I have already observed, your jesters, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, are fat, round, and unwieldy — so that it was no small source of self-gratulation with our king that, in Hop-Frog (this was the fool’s name) he possessed a triplicate treasure in one person. p.235

believe the name ‘Hop-Frog’ was not given to the dwarf by his sponsors at baptism, but it was conferred upon him, by general consent of the seven ministers, on account of his inability to walk as other men do. In fact, Hop-Frog could only get along by a sort of interjectional gait — something between a leap and a wriggle — a movement that afforded illimitable amusement, and of course consolation, to the king, for (notwithstanding the protuberance of his stomach and a constitutional swelling of the head) the king, by his whole court, was accounted a capital figure. p.235


Buddy the Elf



Poe, “Annabel Lee”

Annabel Lee comes off to me as a reversed and twisted version of a typical fairytale. The undying love between a princess and a man. The princess is locked away in a tower so that no one can reach her and she is isolated from the rest of the world. Instead of a the knight in shining armor on a white horse coming to rescue his princess from her tower, the princess dies her in stone grave. As I was reading this poem it made me think of the movie Shrek since it also it kind of a twisted version of they typical fairytale. Princess Fiona is locked away in a tower and instead of prince charming coming to save her an ogre comes to her rescue with a donkey by his side.

via Poe, “Annabel Lee”.

Poe, “The Black Cat” (story)

As I was reading “The Black Cat” I couldn’t help but notice a significant amount of similarities between this short story and another one of his, “The Tell-tale Heart.” Every step of the way I kept comparing one short story to the other.

Beginning of the stories…

At the beginning of both stories the narrator starts by recalling on past events and declaring his sanity. They go on to say that the happenings they are about to tell are not acts of insanity but rather justified. Another claim that both narrators make it they each possess a disease.


Both narrators perform acts of violent and horrific murder but what stood out to me even more is that the people that they murdered were ones that both narrators had said they loved. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator murders his father whom he says that he loved. “Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire.” In “The Black Cat” the narrator abuses his wife and cat, Pluto, and murders both. He makes it well known that he cared about his wife but he loved the cat even after his disease started consuming him. “Pluto—this was the cat’s name—was my favorite pet and playmate.”

Another similarity is the original lack of remorse from both narrators. After the narrator kills his father in “The Tell-Tale Heart” he does not express any emotions of regret or remorse, rather he seems relieved that the “evil eye” will no longer bother him. In like accordance with “The Black Cat” the narrator does not express any remorse after killing his wife, however the narrator does express remorse when he hangs Pluto. It is the frustration and resentment brought on by their “diseases” that leads them to murder.

and the End.

 Towards the end of the both stories there were three things that really stuck out to me. First, both narrators orchestrate and execute a well-thought out plan to hide the bodies of the deceased (except for Pluto in “The Black Cat”). Even more prominent is that fact that both narrators decide to hide the body within the house. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator cuts the head and the limbs off then hides the body parts below the floor in the old man’s bedroom. In “The Black Cat” the narrator hides his wife in a false chimney behind one of the walls in the cellar. Both work to fit the floor boards and brick wall back together with complete precision so that no one will recognize that anything is amiss

Secondly, after the bodies are taken care of both narrators look on the situation as being able to carry on and finallyyyyy move on with their life. They both felt free and as if they actually had a secured future now without their sources of frustration and anger in the way.

Lastly, when the police where searching for the missing persons both stories talk about how they came to search the homes of the deceased. Both narrators make a show of parading the officers around the homes to show them that nothing is amiss. Both narrators felt that they half concealed the body so well that no one would ever be able to figure out the truth. They make a point to boast their success and triumph; in “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator brings the officers into the old mans room and places his chair on the exact floor boards that he buried the old man under. “In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.” In “The Black Cat” the narrator tells the officers how soundly the house was constructed and he then raps on the bricks in which directly behind is his dead wife. “The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but one word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.” In the end these actions are what get the men in trouble and reveal their heinous actions.


Because of such similarities between the two short stories I made the inference that perhaps Poe is saying that boasting about personal success won’t get you any further in life like you think you might, rather it will just hurt you and will negatively affect how you wish to carry out your future.


via Poe, “The Black Cat” (story).

Poe, “Hop-Frog” (story)

Poe’s short story, “Hop-Frog” confused me at first. I probably reread the beginning part of the story three or four times before I started to understand what was going on. I’m a very visual learner so in order for me to understand the short story I needed to able to create a mental image of it myself which is the reason I think it was so hard for me to understand the text at first. The middle of the story where hop-frog executes his plan grabbed my attention through to the end but different words and sentence structures still kind of threw me off. Then I found this comic of a simple overview and it helped me with a mental image of the plot.

hopfrog 1 hopfrog 2

After reading the comic I went back to the short story and read through it again. By this third time and the help of the comic I was able to understand a lot easier.

via Poe, “Hop-Frog” (story).