Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nevermore Creative than “The Raven”

Terror, torture, death and revenge, Edgar Allan Poe wrote about all of these grim topics and more. Poe is one of the most famous American poets and short story writers, especially due is choice of genre. He specialized in writing terrorizing tales and poems. His first published poem is the one I chose to look at as a creative piece. It is the ever famous The Raven. Originally published in 1845 The Raven was an instant success. While I have heard of this particular poem before I found it on a website specifically dedicated to Poe. It is called; it has all of the published works of Edgar Allan Poe as well as other information about him and his writing. So basically the website is meant for those who love the works of Poe. As a creative piece The Raven is amazing in more ways than I can count or recognize. This piece works well within its activity system and the creative style is used beautifully. Creative prose style is used in this poem specifically to be dramatic, frightening, and melancholic in tone. Poe uses many different prose styles to achieve this within this piece. To talk about them all would take quite a bit of time, so I will discuss the major ones that are of importance to the piece.   

                The creative style leaves a lot of wiggle room in the sense of readability scores. In all reality how a piece is written comes done to what the author wants. How the piece is written depends on many things. It depends on the character and style of the writer, the audience they are writing for, the story they are trying to portray, among others. The Flesch –Kincaid reading ease score was 63.1. This high number does not surprise me. Since it was written in 1845 the official style was used more regularly. Poe normally writes in a more verbose and formal manner. The vocabulary is extensive and sometimes complicated, full of words the normal person would not use these days. However, they are not so far removed from the common person so they would not know what the poem is saying. The Flesch-Kincaid reading level is 10.8 and the Average Reading Level is 10.4. It is close to what I figured the number would be. I though the grade level would be around 11. The SMOG index is 7.5. I thought it may be a bit higher than that due to the vocabulary and the creative nature of the poem, but the higher reading ease and the lower grade level gives reason for the lower SMOG index. Characters per word averaged out to 4.4 this is a fairly average number. It is somewhere in between the plain style and the official style. Words per sentence were very high considering it is a poem. It averaged out to 25.4 words per sentence. However, it is important to point out that a poem like The Raven, or any poem for that matter, is not laid out in sentences. They are put into stanzas. This focuses on the sentence structure or rhythm rather than making it a full sentence. A sentence can be broken up into several lines of a poem and span several ideas rather than making one line one sentence. This is because of other poetic works at hand. Creative works are based less on grammar and more on what the author can do to create and show the idea he or she wants. In the case of Poe’s The Raven some lines are full sentences and some are not. While some sentences take up an entire portion of the poem. In the world of creative writing the author decides where and when to break a sentence based on how they want the poem to be read by the readers.

                Poe writes a very specific genre, horror stories. He specifically uses rhetorical devices to convey ides and feelings of horror, despair, and shock. Poe uses dozens of different rhetorical devices within this poem but he uses internal rhyme, alliteration, amplification, and epistrophe specifically to convey the feeling and tone of this poem.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door—

"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door—

Only this and nothing more."


Within the first portion of this poem, listed above, many of these rhetorical devices are used. Internal rhyme can be seen in the first and third lines. The words dreary and weary as well as napping and tapping rhyme with each other within their lines. This is a device used throughout the poem to give it a almost song like quality when read. It maintains a rhythmic quality to the stanzas. It’s catchy. I find it gives off a freaky vibe to the whole thing. The rhyming of the words throughout the lines gives the sense of the rhythmic tapping that is talked about within the contents of the poem itself. Alliteration gives this affect as well. Alliteration is heavily used throughout the poem as well. “While I nodded, nearly napping,” the “n” is repeated several times in a row. This repetitious feeling contributes to the sense of the overall poem that repeats many different things. The raven in the poem simply repeats himself, as Poe repeats himself within the structure of the poem. Many of the devices Poe uses are based around repetition. He uses the repetition of sounds, words, clause, and things of that nature. They bring about a sense of rhythm and a feeling of almost madness. Like a ticking clock it produces a timing that can be terrorizing when thought about deeply and heard. When repeating clauses Poe uses amplification. In the third stanza Poe writes “Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door- Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.” It is virtually the same clause, but several small differences make them different. Poe chose to change the beginning to elaborate the idea of the visitor. His takes the idea of the visitor from being just a visitor to being a late visitor who has come to his door. Poe very strategically and artfully uses amplification to elaborate his ideas throughout the poem. This solidifies ideas, while slowly revealing information as the poem progresses.

Epistrophe is used often as well. One of the most popular and memorable things about “The Raven” is the repetition of the word “nevermore”. Every stanza ends with the word more. The first few just use “more” until the raven shows up and then begins to say “nevermore”. This pattern is memorable and rather haunting, especially as the plot develops over the stanzas. Epistorphe is also used throughout each stanza. In the 4th and 5th lines of every stanza the last word whatever it may be is repeated. This extends the idea and use of repetition, rhyming, and rhythm within the context of the poem.  Lastly, climax is what makes Poe such a wonderful writer for the horror genera. By pacing the source of shocking information Poe can successfully create an amazing source of suspense for readers. Then in the very last lines Poe reveals the kicker for the poem that wraps the story up with horror, shock, and dismay. His perfect use of this device is what makes his pieces so great. They keep the audience reading with a hunger to find out what happens in the end, and then delivers with a shock the final bang of the poem.       

                                  The parties involved in this piece are the writers, readers, and maybe critics this would be the division of labor. There are the writer, the readers, and the critical readers of the work. Each serves a job within the larger picture of published writing. Rules and norms are technically met in this piece. Norms are difficult to peg in creative writing. The norms are different depending on every person’s interpretation of the work. One reader may believe that the work does not fit the criteria of a creative piece, while another may believe it fits perfectly. Norms is a fairly flexible term in my opinion when it comes to the creative style. This is because creative style itself is flexible. Creative is generally open to interpretation. What some people would think is creative is not what other people would think is creative. So in my opinion norms of creative works cannot be defined other than saying they are of fiction (non-fiction would indicate a real incident and therefore would not be included in creative writing). The communities involved are the based on the readership. The communities that would be consistent throughout the time it has been popular. This would be readers of Poe’s works, fans of horror stories, short stories, and poetry. I think it is important to note that while Poe writes horror stories they are not gruesome in the sense of blood, guts, and gore. This separates him and reveals a line of tension between his work and the work of other authors within the genera. Poe relies more on psychological thrill and horror rather than gross acts of violence. It takes a special person to successfully make psychological horror that strikes fear in readers. That is why his works are so popular. They are not so gross that they would not be read by other audiences, and are thrilling enough to please the most avid horror reader. The goals of this poem are definitely met. It is simply meant to scare the readers. With all of the devices used, it meets and exceeds this goal.

                Overall, Poe is an author that will never be forgotten, and for very good reason. His masterful use of rhetorical device in “The Raven” makes it a piece that will be read and remembered for ever. His creative style is unique yet refined to a very precise skill set. This is a very good combination that makes for a successful and inspired writer, with pieces that are innovative and interesting. Though Poe will write never more his pieces will live on forever.  

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