Representatives of American Culture: 'The Raven' vs 'The Story of an Hour'

1009 Words5 Pages
Prompt Two Choose one short story and one poem from the 19th century. Write to compare the ways in which each of these may be considered representative of American culture during the time period in which it was written. Cite specific evidence from the literature to support your ideas. “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe is a poem that was written during the Romantic period (1800-1850). It depicts the story of a young man mourning over the loss of his love, Lenore. One night he was reading “forgotten lore” (Poe) as a way to rid his mind of his lost love. But as he was reading, he heard a “rapping at his chamber's door”(Poe) which at first reveals nothing when he goes to investigate the noise. But when the noise arises again, he goes to check and it is a Raven, who just sits “On a bust of Pallas above the door”. (Poe) Then, he begins to ask the Raven questions. He asks whether or not he'll be reunited with his love again in Heaven, to which the Raven replies, “Nevermore.”(Poe).Before he begins inquiring about his lost love, he notices a strong smell of perfume and begins to call himself a wretch, thinking he's gone crazy. He realizes that it is the Raven's doing. This enrages the narrator and he begins to call the Raven a “thing of evil” and a “prophet”.(Poe) At the end, the narrator admits that his soul is trapped under the raven's shadow and shall be lifted, “Nevermore.”. (Poe) This poem is a fantastic representation of life in America during the 1800's. During the Romantic period, it validated strong emotion, placing emphasis on emotions like apprehension, horror and terror, and awe. In “The Raven”, you can see that Poe was putting emphasis on awe, as the narrator was amazed by the Raven at first. “But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only, That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered -

More about Representatives of American Culture: 'The Raven' vs 'The Story of an Hour'

Open Document