Theme of Annabel Lee, am I anywhere close? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Hi, I'm doing an essay for an advanced English class on the poem "Annabel Lee." Within the thesis we have to describe the theme that we will spend nearly ten pages proving. My thesis is currently:

In “Annabel Lee,” the dominant theme is that people in love should devote themselves entirely to one another through life and the afterlife, fighting any natural or supernatural opposition that may stand in their way.

But having read it again, I'm having some doubts, seeing as he did seem to be more involved with the obsession of her than the "love." It's difficult for me to land one specific theme... could anyone help me out or give me some hints/tips and such that may help me? Thank you!

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003


The dominant theme is indeed about love and devotion. The theme of Annabel Lee, through personal imager, rhythm/rhyme and repitition of words is to honor his deceased wife, Virginia. He wants the reader to understand the strong feeling of loss he had for his dear wife even after her passing. This is his way of keeping her memory alive.

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003

All I no is Annabel Lee was 12 when the got maried and he was like 22 and they had a kid when she was 13 that is just nasty...

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2003

Your intuition is excellent. The immediate prejudice is always to stop with saying this is a love poem, love defined in a particular way. The thought is Romantic with a big "R" nor romantic with a small "r".

Read "Ligeia for a less sympathetic take on this disturbing greater "love". In fact, look at all Poe's poems and stories of the ideal love or woman. He talks about THE love, her love for him, but little of the person of Annabel. The tone is also angry, bitter and defiant and against the cosmos in general, her relatives in particular for breaking their bond. Also disturbing is what you immediately miss right at the first line. All this happened years ago and STILL he is sleeping by her tomb by the sea, beseiging and denying the division.

Were it not for the genuine lasting declaration of the pausing repetition line "Of my darling- my darling" the revolt might even seem cold. her "murder" is an act of jealousy by the powers in heaven and earth. So he rejects them by standing between, beside the tomb, on the shore didiiding all the realms and elements. or the joining point, which is what he tries to make of it. That line also breaks the oceanic wave rhytym like a sigh or sob. All its terms "my" "wife" "bride" denotes possessivenss though all he possesses are natural symbols of light and natural symbols of barriers and inexorable loss. The last couplet is all about place, which has the ironic ring of doom as much as love or hope. Hence the undefinable chill so peculair to other Poe poems.

Your original thesis states it as a unversal lesson which Poe abhorred. He was not teaching but pouring out his soul and his relentless bonding to reaching for ideals he can never have or never last. Never omit the importance of the voice of the narrator which sometimes is forgotten in place of focussing on his narration. This is about the poet as the center. HE places that center at the shoreline and tomb.

Some online articles I will try to e-mail you are found in your library subscription databases(the librarian can give you the passwords)which is better than any other way of obtaining them and cheaper than subscribing yourself to mammoth resources like Otherwise surf the links at and see the interactive site of knowingpoe/

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2003

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