Tuesday, 30 December 2014

This is why I don't do poetry

On the last episode of Top Chef they had to make dishes based on famous New-England writers. One contestant chose Poe - the Raven and described it as a sad and mournful love story about a man who’d lost his beloved, and I seriously went “the Raven is a love story? Since when? I’ve got to reread the Raven”. 

I see the mentions of Lenore when rereading it, but it’s not what I would have focused on in an analysis. 
For me the Raven has always been about a lonely, old man’s decent into depression and paranoia/madness, being haunted by the very thing providing him a semblance of the companionship he seeks. 
The Raven both driving him further into paranoia and madness, while at the same time jolting him out of it by providing a constant presence, and taunting him with the idea that he’ll never have companionship again. (while the Raven in itself is a sign that he’s lost his grasp of reality) 

After all, Lenore is gone, it’s a love lost, it’s more a tragedy than a love story, and I’ve always thought the loneliness he’s experiencing is the focus, not the lost love in itself. 
Also, I seem to be reading the poem a bit more severely than other people. 

It’s just realizing again that I’ve been missing a huge, obvious part of the poem, which is part of the “standard” analysis of it, and would’ve caused me to score badly if I ever were to write about it on a test. 

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