theme of poem "The Bells" : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I don't understand the poem Bells. Can you help me by telling me something about this poem such as the theme?

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2000


I am thinking that the theme of the poem is a life cycle and that the start is birth, the second part is adulthood with the marriage, the third part is death and the final part is the after life with the reference to the steeple and gouls. I may be completly wrong on this, but that is what I am thinking right now.

-- Anonymous, March 20, 2000


-- Anonymous, May 17, 2001

Yes the phases of life and tragedy leading to a haunting doom all with sound music marking time appropriate to the growing mood. Like "The Haunted Palace" which was more visual. There is something interesting in those ghouls or demons in the steeple, a common theme for Poe(Devil in the Belfry)haunted tombs, palace etc. Disorder and supernal fear lurking within decay, beautiful and orderly things falling apart- the theme of dissolution. A personal experience while for Yeats "things falling apart" is more on the side of social commentary. One of the most- if not the most- powerful examples of onamatopeoia(words sounding what they mean)

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2001

Definitely a late reply to this, but in response to what the bells are representing as a life cycle I don't feel that the "wedding" aspect is entirely correct. The life cycle of the poem, in terms of the bells seems to me to be more like this:

Silver bells -> birth Golden bells -> early-life/adolescense Brazen bells -> mid-life Iron bells -> end-life/death (also after-life)

Perhaps just some food for thought if anyone reads this. I recently wrote a paper about this poem discussing Poe's seemingly recurring themes of obsession and life/death/supernatural. I personally think this poem holds down these qualities in a shorter, more concise, manner while still displaying both aspects of his writing. Just my opinion, though.

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001

Just a thought, maybe the silver bells represtents baptism. After the death of Poe's Mother in December 1811, he was taken in as a foster child by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia. Though never formally adopted, Poe was baptised on January 7, 1812 and christened Edgar Allan Poe. Gaining acceptance in a family is certinely something he could be happy about.

-- Anonymous, October 28, 2001

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