hELP I NEED TO UNDERSTAND POES "A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM". CAN ANYBODY EXPLAIN IT'S MEANING, OR KNOW WHERE TO GET AN ESSAY?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
I have to teach this poem to my English class as an assignment. I'm having trouble uncovering it's meaning or learning anything about it for that matter. I could really use some help!
-- Anonymous, May 25, 2001
See BOTH versions of the poem (1849)at www.eapoe.og or elsewhere. As with other last poems he was shaemlessly passing them off to various people, especially ladies he was courting- yet- mostly they seem to deal with death of his wife.
The final version abandons the the symmetry of the first single stanza poem with the triple ryhme ("Through my fingers to the deep") where the past is lost and he voices his despair. The second version is more reflective. Its triple rhyme has at center ("And in parting from you now") the exact moment he leaves is beloved, another one of those finally lost "grains". Does anything matter whether it was imagined or real?(Here it MAY be reworking the poem to fit one of his newly failed courtships?)Hope has flown.
The second stanza is situated on the shore(see poem"Silence") which for Poe often symbolizes the borderland between life and other life. Death and its shadows attack and torment as they strip away the grains of sand. the grains could symbolize the moments and memories he would save, or dreams clutched within a hand thatitself will be washed away. On the borderland there is nor sure hope, only the tormented question.
Interesting doubling, the two triple verses, the symbolic images, the growing crescendo of anguish that draws away from the flat statement to a cried out question. "Is all that we see or seem" the importance of the eyes and the interior imagination of the soul.
NOT a transcendentalist-Hindu inspired philosophy like Emerson's, but Poe's own personal wandering on the "shore" looking back on losses and forward to the relentless and not always comforting spiritual realm.
Just some personal thoughts. Couldn't find any article in particular. The imagery is simple and consistent with the feelings and ideas found in other poems (Dreamland, The Raven, Annabel Lee). This one is devoid of light except perhaps for "the golden grains" so less enlightened by Hope as you might see in Annabel Lee, and To Helen.
-- Anonymous, May 29, 2001