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Appraisal of “The Raven”

Readers, I am confounded. Truly confounded!

First, Master Poe loses his loving and adoring wife, Virginia Clemm Poe, to the white plague. Then he begins to write a series of poems and short-stories about unnamed men who are grief stricken with similar loss.

This week, I am appraising his aberrant poem, “The Raven”, in which yet another unidentified protagonist mourns the loss of his beloved, and is met by a series of strange events involving what can only be described as an ominous (Demonic even!) creature – a raven. More baffling is the fact that the protagonist actually attempts to initiate polite conversation with this dim-witted fowl!

Understanding that this bird may have been trained to repeat only a single word, “nevermore”, the protagonist continues to interrogate this weak-minded creature until the protagonist, himself, becomes unhinged.

So, it is at this point that I must ask, Dear Readers: Does Master Poe intend to refer to himself in these stories? If so, is he aware of his own madness? Or, is he perhaps employing it (or the ruse of it) to engage his audience?

And, since there is but one unnamed man in these stories, yet quite a few bemoaned and overly-lamented lost paramours (I refer not only to Virginia Clemm Poe, but to Annabel Lee and “Nevermore Lenore”), does Master Poe’s true identity lie in that of a cad, or a scoundrel? Or, has he truly become unhinged?

If it is the former, as a God-fearing man, I must warn Master Poe that our Almighty Father reserves a special place in Hell for such unrepentantly immoral men. And, it is perhaps there that Poe will find the true meaning of his raven.

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