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The Sleeper, Poetry Analysis - Assignment "Literary Analysis"

insanitywhisper 1 / -  
Nov 24, 2008   #1
I was wondering if i could have any feedback on how i have constructed this essay. Any suggestions on the format, how it is written, etc. would be great! fyi this is only half of the essay, but i was wanting to know if it is "good" so far..

Assignment "Literary Analysis"

A dream so vivid you can feel the cold breeze against your face, the stench of death and dried tears creeping up your nose that you question its reality. This dream is like the imagination of many Edgar Allan Poe poems and stories. Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Sleeper" published first in 1831 is written in Iambic Tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of both couplets and triplets. The poem focuses on the death of a beautiful women, Irene.

Poe, separated from his siblings at age of two, was orphaned after the death of his mother in 1811 and unofficially adopted by John Allen and his wife Frances. At a young age Poe showed his interest in dark literature. Poe excelled athletically and academically, but was still taunted by classmates. At that time he befriended a classmates mother, Jane Stith Stanard, until her death in 1824. Her death caused Poe to spiral into depression and consequently inspiration to write poems in her memory. Though "The Sleeper" was not formally addressed as to be about Ms. Stanard, context of the poem reflects otherwise.

The poem focuses on a man's journey through a cemetery in search for a women he loves. The women, being Irene, is Ms. Stanard. In Greek mythology Irene is the goddess of peace, which would connect the poem to Poe and Ms. Stanard's relationship. Poe dealt with chaos and ridicule from his classmates and Ms. Stanard offered him a place of peace.

At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley (1-8).
In lines one through eight the man ventures out in the middle of the night. He comes up to a mountain and looks down in the valley where his love is in a endless slumber. In lines three and four it suggests a peaceful yet dark atmosphere.

The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake (9-15).
The narrator then sees himself confused when he reaches the cemetery. In line nine he mentions rosemary upon the grave and in folklore rosemary is a symbol of remembrance. Then in line thirteen the term Lethe is used. In Greek mythology Lethe is one of the rivers of Hades. Drinking from this river causes forgetfulness. This is were the man is torn, he doesn't know if he should keep her in his heart or forget about her completely. In the following lines, "O, lady bright! can it be right- / This window open to the night?" (19, 20) the man sees a grave which he believes to be Irene, but questions whether or not it is. He ask himself a series of questions, but intends for them to be aimed towards Irene. "Strange is thy pallor - strange thy dress - / Strange thy glorious length of tress, / And this all-solemn silentness!"(33-35) While standing above her grave the narrator can't seem to comprehend how long it has been since he has seen her. He finds it strange that her skin is so pale and that of the length of her hair has not changed, but only diminished in color. It is strange to see her in such a setting, laying in her grave.

Thank you, Sidney
EF_Team5 - / 1,586  
Nov 25, 2008   #2
Good afternoon :)

To begin with, I have some questions:

What type of analysis are you to be conducting?

How does the biographical information relate to your analysis?

I think you've got a good start here; I'm not really sure where you are in your writing process, but in your final draft make sure you break up your analysis and the parts of the poem you are using to substantiate your assertions a little better. As it is, it's hard to tell your thoughts from the poem. You're off to a great start!

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