Analysis of Annabel Lee : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I would really appreciate it if someone could help me on the analysis of Annabel Lee. Who was he talking about and was it a specific even that happened in his life or, not.

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2003


It was a poetic project undertaken when he was still suffering from the death of his wife, but in the process of seeking out a new one. Immediately it brings most to mind Sarah "Helen" Whitman who lived in Providence(by the sea, and with kin opposed to their marriage) but the slim story unconsciously mirrors elements of his relationship with Virginia, his deceased wife. "I was a child, she was a child" her death and his long survival, occasionally falling asleep over her grave, also high born kinsmen among his family who opposed their marriage as well. The association of chill and wind. She was discovered with tuberculosis during a musical performance on her (flute?)However, our prejudice in this matter comes from the argument of Fanny Osgood, a friend of the family trying to put down another Poe friend, "Annie", as a claimant ot the inspiration.

Why the story? A source may have been "The Mourner" (1807, by D.M.C.)that contains "Anna" dying in her "cot by the side of the sea" refrain, "death tore my Anna from me/:/And for many long years I've unceasingly mourned". Striking that this four stanza poem is the same length as "Stanzas for Music" by Sarah Whitman, about separation, night by the shore and love and anger.

So these specifics account for a great deal of the choices of themes and story. In any event, it is a work of idealized art, consciously made to be so and universal- not a biographical allegory as such. That is how Poe wrote all his high poems. This one compares with the theme and tragic narrator of "To Annie" "Ulalume" and "A Dream within a dream". Reading all these works of this last period helps you see Poe's thrust in general, "The Raven", with reality making the theme all the more personal and hard. But not too hard to capitalize on the masterpieces literarily.

The rather unstable narrator it must be noted right off says it was many and many a year ago. Add that to each night sleeping by her tomb by the seashore and what seems to amny as an expression of love becomes something more and chilling. He talks of his sorrow his love and describes Annabel hardly at all. His tone is anger and revolt at the heavens. He fixes himself at the boundary point(sea, shore, earth sky-stars)and affirms the bond of love over all. Think Heathcliff of "Wuthering Heights".

The ballad is set far away, long ago. Why would she be known other than as a legend of song? In violation of the ballad form though the perspective is fixed in the narration from the present of the narrator. They are children("Hop Frog"- the little dwarf and Trippetta). A wind from the jealous angels kills her. The last two stanzas "But" shows the revolt against this separation and that stronger love. The last stanza shows his action and his devotion. The rhyme and line count varies without seeming to, so incessant and untied is the sealike rhythms. the "ee" sound is the main rhyme and repats throughout, other rhymes being occasional, irregular and in couplets emphasizing a strong emotion especially in the liner "my darling," where the repetitions and couplets multiply"beams, dreams, etc. So despite the wavelike repetition an even more natural slight irregularity, advance draw back, gives more life to the ballad and crescendos and recedes.

His first choice of an ending "by the sounding sea" is a more musical downbeat tempo ending and is preferred by most editors to his last change "in her tomb by the side of the sea" which just keeps on going as before.

-- Anonymous, May 27, 2003

I would really appricate some help thank you, belinda

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

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