Study Guide

Dream-Land Sadness

By Edgar Allan Poe


The speaker of "Dream-Land" is sad. Really, really sad. Did you get that? If there's one thing to remember about this poem, it's probably that. In fact, pretty much everything in this poem is sad. Even the lakes are bummed out! Poe is all about intense moods and feelings, the darker the better. We might go out on a limb and say that the most important feeling in Poe's major poems is loss, and the sadness that goes with it. The speakers in his poems are almost always grieving for someone who has died. No different here.

Questions About Sadness

  1. Have you ever been so sad that you felt like the world around you was sad too? Can you see what Poe means when he talks about a lake being sad (line 23)?
  2. Do you think the speaker becomes less sad as the poem continues?
  3. Is it sometimes kind of fun to feel depressed? Do you think the speaker of this poem likes wallowing in his misery a little bit?
  4. Is sadness the most important emotion in this poem? Can you think of others that might be equally significant?

Chew on This

While this appears to be a poem about a strange and distant place, every element of the poem is actually being used to describe the speaker's emotional state.

The startling revelation that the speaker is happy in Dream-Land reinforces how emotionally disturbed he is, and blurs the line between the waking world and the land of nightmares.