Study Guide

The Raven Sound Check

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Sound Check

We think this poem sounds exactly like a magic spell. If you wanted to curse someone, or summon an evil spirit, we bet you'd want something that sounded exactly like this poem. Do you feel the way the rhythm pushes you forward, the way it starts to sound almost like a drum beat? For us, that rhythm even becomes a little hypnotic. Throw in all the repetitive rhyming and the poem sounds even more like some kind of incantation. It picks up speed too, starting out slow and quiet, and then building, getting faster and more intense until you can almost imagine someone yelling it.

Check out lines 63-64: "Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster/ Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore." Just try to read that slowly and calmly, without getting caught up and swept along by the wild, frantic sound of the poem. That's the great thing about the sound of "The Raven." Even as the events of the poem grow more intense, the words and the rhythm of the poem pick up too. By the end it almost sounds like a fist pounding on a table: "Take thy beak from out my heart, and thy form from off my door!" – Boom, boom, boom. The spell that Poe is weaving over us comes to a wild peak, and then disappears suddenly.

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