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Dream-Land

Dream-Land

by Edgar Allan Poe

The Supernatural Theme

"Dream-Land" is packed with spooky, weird creatures. There are ghosts, ghouls and phantoms, not to mention all kinds of strange events and incidents. Nothing in this poem is quite like it is in the natural world, and it seems to be filled with a kind of evil, scary energy. It's not quite like a horror movie – there's no jump-out-and-scare-you stuff – but there's creepy magic in almost every line. You might say it's eerie or ghostly. Do we sound like a thesaurus? You get the idea: things aren't how they're supposed to be here.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. Do you think ghosts are always scary? Could you imagine it being comforting to see the ghost of someone you love?
  2. Is there a difference between the kinds of supernatural beings in this poem? Do you think the ghouls (line 30) are different from the "sheeted memories of the past" (line 34)?
  3. If you see a ghost in a dream, is it supernatural? OK, maybe that sounds like a dumb riddle, but do you see what we're getting at? Are the rules for what's "natural" the same when you are dreaming?
  4. Have you ever seen someone you missed in a dream? How did it make you feel? Does this poem capture that experience?

Chew on This

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

Poe carefully plays on our fear of ghosts at the beginning of the poem, before turning them into something positive at the end. This helps us to see how profoundly the speaker has been changed by his grief.

By setting this poem in a fantastical land, Poe is able to remake the rules of reality and make the supernatural seem almost normal.

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