What does the Raven Symbolize in Edgar Allan Poe? Echoes of Personal Loss

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Updated: Sep 06, 2023
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What Does the Raven Symbolize in Edgar Allan Poe’s Work? Personal Reflections on Loss and Loneliness

The poem “The Raven,” written by Edgar Allan Poe, shows deep signs of depression and a sense of confusion that the Narrator has been experiencing since the death of his wife, Lenore. The raven in the poem symbolizes death and is the barre of unwelcoming news. As the raven visits, the Narrator hopes that it will come back with good news regarding his wife and future.

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Instead, the raven tells him that he will continue to be depressed and lonely. The way the Narrator felt in the poem reminds me of when I broke my foot jumping hurdles. The raven in the poem is the doctor in my situation. Breaking my foot, my last season of high school track and field was devasting and made me feel super depressed and lonely. After every appointment after my accident, I had always hoped that the doctor would say that I would be fine and that I would be able to run at least one more track meet before the season ended; he always concluded the appointment with, “You aren’t quite there yet and probably won’t be ready again for a couple of months.” The Narrator was struggling to cope with the loss of his wife, while I was struggling with dealing with never being able to compete and do something I love again. Although we were both going through different situations, we were both feeling depressed and lonely.

Echoes of Poe: Finding Personal Resonance in ‘The Raven’s’ Descent into Desolation

A point of comparison between the poem and my life is when the Narrator says, “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 tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door” (Poe, lines 1-5), in lines 1 through 5 of the poems the Narrator begins to quickly introduce us, the audience to his dark, cheerless, and depressing life. The Narrator of the poem is then trying to help us understand his mental and physical state of being dark, lonely, and depressed after the death of his wife. As he sits in his “chambers” or bedroom in complete silence, the Narrator begins to make a sudden tapping sound. At this point in the poem, I can relate to it because, after my accident, I felt weak and dull to the point where I only wanted to be left alone by everyone.

Later in the poem, the Narrator says, “Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished for the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow from my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Nameless here for evermore.” (Poe, lines 6-10); at this point of the poem, the Narrator is attempting to explain that he is trying to bury his sorrow, the woman he loved dearly, Lenore. I relate to this part of the poem because breaking my foot was devastating, and being a guy makes you feel less than that when you show how you feel. During the time of my injury, I tried to bury my feelings by constantly watching TikTok.


  1. Quinn, Arthur H. “Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography.”
  2. Sova, Dawn B. “Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z.”
  3. Stashower, Daniel. “The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder.”
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What Does the Raven Symbolize in Edgar Allan Poe? Echoes of Personal Loss. (2023, Sep 06). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-does-the-raven-symbolize-in-edgar-allan-poe-echoes-of-personal-loss/