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Ulalume

Ulalume

by Edgar Allan Poe

The Volcano

Symbol Analysis

This starts off seeming like a passing thought, a quick detour, but then it turns into something much bigger. Without much warning, we spin off on an adventure that takes an entire stanza. The speaker takes us all the way to the North Pole, to the fiery sides of a volcano, just so he can get us to fully understand how emotional he was feeling in this moment.

  • Line 13: This line kicks off an epic simile, which is basically a poetic comparison that extends over several lines. Instead of just saying: x is like y (heart is like volcano) he paints us a complete, rich picture of the volcano. We think this turns a pretty normal poetic move into something exciting and memorable
  • Line 14: There are a lot of words in this poem that sound like what they mean. We think "scoriac" is a particularly great example of that technique, which English teachers call onomatopoeia. Scoria is a rough, gritty volcanic stone. So a "scoriac river" is a flow of rough rock. Doesn't the word scoriac kind of grate and crunch and crumble off your tongue? Cool, huh?
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