“The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe is a poem that tells the story of a man his love interest, Lenore. One night he was reading “forgotten lore” as a way to purge his mind of what he had lost, but as he was reading, he heard a knocking at the door. This seems to be nothing when he goes to inspect the source of the noise, but when the noise happens again, he goes to check what it is and it is a Raven. He then decides to ask the Raven questions. He asks whether or not he'll be reunited with his dearest again, to which the Raven replies, “Nevermore.” Before he begins asking about his lost love, he smells a strong scent of perfume and begins to call himself a wretch. He realizes that it was the Raven's doing, which enrages him. He begins to call the Raven a “thing of evil” and a “prophet”. At the end, the narrator acknowledges that his soul is trapped under the shadow of the raven and it shall be lifted, “Nevermore.” This poem is a great depiction of life in America in the 19th Century due to the era’s strong, emotional form of expression at the time.
PROMPT TWOChoose 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.For my short story, I decided to choose, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. In this story, a woman named Louise Mallard is informed by her sister that her husband died in a tragic train accident. Due to Louise having a heart problem, both her sister and her sister’s husband break the news carefully when suddenly she runs up and locks herself in her room. While Louise is sitting in her room, she’s watching the scene outside her window and feeling joyous with the thought that she will be alone for the rest of her life, free to do what she pleases. This ties back to the classic American stance of “woman should marry and listen to the husband”. Here, Louiseis glad that, since no longer her husband is in the picture, she has nothing holding her back.