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January 29

Poe's "The Raven" was published in 1845.

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Poe's "The Raven" was published in 1845.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

On this date in 1845, American author Edgar Allan Poe's famously eerie poem "The Raven" was published in New York Evening Mirror. Equally praised and panned by critics of the day, the poem made Poe famous throughout America and England. "The Raven" was parodied soon after its publication, and continues to be an important cultural and literary text even today.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Read aloud the opening stanzas of Poe's "The Raven." Ask students to note their reactions to the language of the poem as they listen. The following questions can guide their written or verbal responses:

  • What are their impressions of the poem's speaker and atmosphere?
  • What emotions/feelings might the speaker be experiencing?
  • How can a reader tell the mood and tone of the poem, after hearing only the opening stanzas?
  • What words, images, and details does Poe provide to create this effect?

After students have finished, glean from their responses the words and phrases Poe uses to create the voice of the speaker, a figure who is obviously not "normal."  Continue reading the poem, or distribute copies to students for their own reading. Discuss the changes or development of students' first impressions as "The Raven" continues.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • The Interactive Raven

    This interactive study resource offers students a chance to explore the devices of alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme, as well as learn challenging vocabulary and allusions within "The Raven."

  • The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

    Gathered by the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, this site includes the text of Poe's stories and poems. The homepage offers biographical information, details on geographic locations important to Poe, and other articles.

  • American Masters: Edgar Allan Poe

    This PBS website offers biographical information about Edgar Allan Poe and links to related Internet resources.

  • The Philosophy of Composition

    Written by Edgar Allan Poe, this essay discusses his views on writing and explains the logic and reasoning behind the choices he made in "The Raven," citing specific references and examples from the poem.

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