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Annabel Lee

Annabel Lee


by Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee Theme of Man and the Natural World

Even with all of these big questions on our plate, we can't forget about the importance of nature in "Annabel Lee." It's not something the speaker makes a big deal of, but nature is everywhere in this poem. The sea is the biggest example, but we also hear about the wind and the clouds and the stars and the moon. Sometimes it's a quiet, steady presence in the background, but like everything else in this poem, nature is always a little bit scary and threatening. You never quite imagine that sea being sunny and pretty, do you?

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Why does Poe start and end this poem by talking about the sea? Is it just a sound, or a place, or maybe a metaphor?
  2. Do you get a picture in your head of what the kingdom by the sea looks like? Would you want to live there?
  3. Does the natural world seem good or evil in this poem?
  4. Do you see the moon and the stars as beautiful and comforting or spooky and disturbing?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The natural world plays an ambiguous role in this poem. It threatens the speaker, and kills his beloved Annabel Lee, but it also comforts him by bringing her back in the moon and the stars.

The poem is built around the central image of the sea, and the feeling and the sound of the ocean give it structure and meaning.

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