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Ulalume

Ulalume

by Edgar Allan Poe

Sadness Theme

As far as the themes of "Ulalume" go, this one has to take the cake.  The poem like a giant bowl of sadness with some depression and dejection crumbled on top.  On the other hand, the fact that the speaker is sad doesn't mean we have to be too.  This might be the kind of sadness you kind of enjoy, like watching a tear-jerking movie or listening to a song that makes you cry.

Questions About Sadness

  1. Is this a sad poem?  Or is it just a poem about a sad guy?  Is there a difference between the two?
  2. Do the landscape and the speaker and Psyche all share the same feeling of sadness, or are there subtle differences?
  3. The speaker is talking about a memory, something that happened in the past.  Do you get a sense of whether he is feeling better in the present? Has he recovered at all?
  4. Do you think the feeling of sadness increases at the end of the poem, or is there some sense of hope?

Chew on This

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

The beauty of the words in the poem creates a soothing, thrilling effect that counteracts the sadness of the subject.

The union of the speaker and his soul in the final stanza creates a feeling of hope. Rather than being divided and confused, the speaker begins to take a clear, useful look at his terrible sadness.

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