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Lakes

Symbol Analysis

The lakes are another big feature of the natural world in Dream-Land, and Poe actually spends a lot of time on them. We get a real feeling for how sad and cold and lonely they are. Poe is building a mood here, and it seems like the speaker's feelings are always mirrored in the things he sees. There's also something creepy about lakes, isn't there? Just a shiny surface, and no way to know what's underneath. We're imagining a lake kind of like the one in Friday the 13th.

  • Line 17: Just like the mountains and the oceans, the lakes here are endless. Everything here is on an infinite scale, and goes on forever and ever. This kind of poetic exaggeration is called hyperbole. In this case, Poe is using it to give us an intense feeling for the strangeness of Dream-Land.
  • Line 23: Poe has a lot to say about what these lakes are like, but we think this line gives a really interesting example. He says that the waters are "sad." Now maybe water can look sad, or make you feel sad, but we all know that it can't actually be sad. When you give human emotions to something that isn't alive, like water, that's called personification. Poe uses it here to build the connection between the speaker's feelings and the outside world. This poem seems to be about a place, but we think it's really about a feeling: the pain and suffering of grief.

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