sexta-feira, 22 de julho de 2011

The Analysis of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe

The Analysis of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809. He was an American writer very famous. Nowadays, he is recognized as the father of detective fiction genre. His biography facts were so strong. In the first, he became orphan of mother. His father abandoned the family. After, he went for the university of Virginia, but he can´t study, because, he didn’t have a money. In 1835, he married Virginia Clemm. She died of tuberculosis in 1847. He tried to work in his own journal but he died in 1849. In this time, he was forty years old. The literary critic doesn’t have sure about the causes of his death.
The object of my studying is the poem: “A dream”. According with the references [1]this poem was published in 1929. This poem is part of books: “Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems.” This paper is divided in three parts: the structural analysis, the content analysis and why did I choose?

The Structural analysis

Before of analysis, I bring the poem:
  A Dream [2]
In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

 Ah! what is not a dream by day
 To him whose eyes are cast
 On things around him with a ray
 Turned back upon the past?

      That holy dream- that holy dream,
      While all the world were chiding,
      Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
      A lonely spirit guiding.

      What though that light, thro' storm and night,
      So trembled from afar-
      What could there be more purely bright
       In Truth's day-star?


The poem “A dream” has a rhythmic chain. There is an impression of movement, or a presence of sound. The poem is constructed with the use of synonymic terms, as ray, beam, cheer, joy. This exercise shows us the creativity of author. There is a symbolic use of terms in the poem. For example; the words and the repetition of some words give us an intensity of a turmoil dream. The sentence “That holy dream- that holy dream” confirms that the poem is a matter. In other words, the dream is a abstract substance and in the same time a concrete material. Here, there is a space for a ambiguous interpretation.  The poem, of course, has rhymes in all stanzas. There are metaphors too. For example, the uses of symbolic words give us this impression. There is smile too. As we can see in: “Hath cheered me as a lovely beam”

The content analysis

In my opinion, the atmosphere of poem shows us an image of a nightmare. Because some terms as dark, night, spirit, storm remembered this atmosphere. This kind of poem has features Allan’s Poe literary works. I suppose that the persona awake up in the middle of night and many past memories appears in its mind.  But, the lyric voice doesn’t want to remember about the ancient facts. Therefore, we can see the sensation of a “broken-hearted”. This impression involves bad feelings. In the same time, I thought, that despite of the persona appears to sleep (before wake up). It isn’t sleep. In this moment arise a doubt about the stage of sleepy. For example, in the sentence: “Ah! What is not a dream by day”. The “dream” arises as holy. I think that the idea of holy isn’t the same idea of religious theories. The holy dream gives an impression of mystery. The dream is holy because It reveals some memories of past. These memories were blocked by persona. The visions are fast and slow in the same time. They are strong as a ray and fast too. But the ray also is “lovely”, “calm”. I think that the persona in this passage recognize the importance of your memories, because there is “a lonely spirit guiding” it at night.  But, in the last stanza the lyric voice goes back the original idea of far of night. The life of author is very sad and his experiences are into his literary works.

Why did I choose?

When I read the title of some poems, I was doubt between two poems: “A dream” and “Alone”. In the first moment, I focused in the titles because I could link the ideas of poem with the psychoanalysis theory. The terms alone and dream remembered the Freud theories. Therefore, I linked the poem “A dream” with confuses ideas and oppressed feelings. I think that the fragmentation of facts, the doubts, and the resistance of persona believes in its dream or not, are also idea of psychoanalysis. I preferred the poem “a dream” because it is more reflexive and it’s less sad. According the references, the second poem (Alone) was written when the Poe´s mother died.

[1] According with the site Wikipedia. Available in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poems_by_Edgar_Allan_Poe. May, 23, 2011.
[2] Available in: http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/poe/dream.html
[3] I put this poem in the end of text. 


® Naiana Freitas,22 de julho de 2011.

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