The summary of To Helen : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I'm tryin to do this paper about To helen and i really can't find information about the summary. If you find something could you send it to me. Thanks

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2003


A difficult poem in some controversial references, perhaps because uit was an early effort by Poe learning a new poetic language of his own.

The first line absolutely focuses the poem and its prime reference: the classical beauty of Helen of Troy as symbol of the ideal that moves the poet.

Then comes a rare Poe simile about the Nicaean barks. Without trying to pin it down simply go with the rhythm and image as the beginning of an episode dynamically describing the return to safe home, haven and harbor of a weary, lost wanderer. The beacon of this return he declares had always been with him is her goddess(statue) like form and their essence the classical ideal itself of Greece and Rome. The classical theme of epic journey and return is added to the culture and idolized feminine ideal of classicism. Repose, salvation, holy light.

Then comes the final part, a typical Poe double play. This is a song of praise descriibing her static place enshrined like a lighthouse beacon glowing with holy light. the "agate lamp" replaces the "little scroll" of the first version which had been a more direct reference to the call of literature ahead of the young man finally coming to his vocation. The lamp is more attendant wisdom and pure light,finally named Psyche(refer to that legend but Poe uses it here and elsewhere to represent Soul). So his idelaized beacon,his goal and his haven is his soul. It seems fair to assume this idealized statement of Poe's poetic path was once first dedicated to Mrs. Jane Stanard who inculcated and supported his career in literature as a boy. Subsequent women also receivedthis honored name of Helen, such as a late courtship with Sarah "Helen" Whitman to whom another, more personal "To Helen" is dedicated.

Need help with details, e-mail me.

-- Anonymous, March 07, 2003

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