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"Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe

 
 
Gouki
 
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 03:44 pm
Alone
From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.



could anyone give me a brief analysis of this poem please? and possibly the literary devices in it. thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 57,051 • Replies: 37
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Bekaboo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 04:43 pm
I'm not a great one for analysis so here's a tip for you... start us off - mention a couple of things and people will follow suit. Nobody likes doing all your work for you
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 05:01 pm
I'm surprised that Craven hasn't responded to this one.

Welcome to A2K, you two.

Incidentally, Gouki. You need to read up a bit on Poe's life.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 05:03 pm
This is easily Poe's most personal poem and it is the greatest insight into his mind of all his poetry.

He's describing his eccentric nature and dark world view and the primary literary device is rich imagery.

The ending is an explosion of imagery culminating in the demon he saw and is a clear autobiographical window into his own torment and a description through nature and how he saw it of his own haunted soul.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 05:08 pm
Letty wrote:
I'm surprised that Craven hasn't responded to this one.


LOL, Poe totally plagiarized this poem from me.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 05:08 pm
Well, well. I think I just lived up to my eponym.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 05:16 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
This is easily Poe's most personal poem and it is the greatest insight into his mind of all his poetry.

He's describing his eccentric nature and dark world view and the primary literary device is rich imagery.


I would add that it not only gives the greatest insight into all of his poetry, but into his prose as well. What seems dark and twisted to the readers of his tales, was commonplace to his tortured insight into the darker nooks and crannies of the soul. The verse in question here is fairly innocent of any elaborate literary devices, save -- as Craven has already pointed out -- a rich imagery.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 06:06 pm
Well, Merry. Poe actually did plagiarize Craven's Alone. It all happened in a former life.
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Gouki
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 09:25 pm
thank you for your participation! but I'm still unclear about something. How do the lines

From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,

reflect his dark world view? These lines create imagery I have no doubt about that, but how does it convey his dark world view?
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 10:18 pm
You didn't complete the image, Gouki. See the last two lines. Even in a clear blue sky the cloud becomes a demon.
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Gouki
 
  2  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 10:22 pm
oh I think i understand now. so this is some sick evil ironic twist in the end. So even in the mildest, calmest of all scenery, he could always see the dark?
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2005 10:33 pm
That's how I read it. He stresses the contrast between the sunshine, the red cliffs etc. and what he actually sees -- the dark cloud which, to him, looks like a demon.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Feb, 2005 09:31 pm
You know - reading that poem from "Then- in my childhood, in the dawn" on - which is where the sense stops being broken up, as it were, by the lines - and each line becomes complete in itself, there are, to my ear, strong echoes of two Blake poems - "Thy Tiger" and "Infant Sorrow"

"TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"

and, in Infant Sorrow - lo and behold, we have a fiend hidden in a cloud:

"My mother groand! my father wept.
Into the dangerous world I leapt.
Helpless, naked, piping loud;
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.
Struggling in my fathers hands,
Striving against the swaddling bands
Bound and weary I thought best,
To sulk upon my mother's breast."


I do find myself wondering if Poe was - consciously, or unconsciously, echoing or referring to these poems - one speculating on how good and evil could be created by the same hand - or at least on how the perceived dichotomy of such can be entertained - one of an inherent nature bound by human circumstance and custom.

(I think I am stretching things more with The Tiger" - but the cadence and such does, think, become very Blakean in the latter part of the poem. But perhaps there is no grounds for seeing any allusion to The Tiger there!)

For me, anyway, the Blake echoes and allusions add to the richness of the poem's content.

(Very Borges, that!)

I do wonder if they were there for Poe!

One can imagine that Blake is the kind of poet who would have appealed to Poe!! He even had a period of apparent insanity.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Feb, 2005 11:17 pm
dlowan, you may well be correct in that assumption. Read Poe's "The Poetic Principle," reprinted in many anthologies of his works. He doesn't mention Blake by name there, but a lot of what he says sounds like it is precisely a style like Blake's that he admires. That essay, along with "The Principles of Composition" are indispensable to understanding a lot of Poe's imagery and allusions.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 12:03 am
Oh - thank you!!! It is funny, I read the obligatory complete Poe when studying English - loved a bit of his stuff - found more of it over-wrought.

Occasionally, when looking at a poem more closely when chatting with Craven, I have seem complex and lovely Shakespearean allusions - which have added layers of depth to his work - for me.

The apparent Blakeean influence really struck me as I read this one - (and the fiend hid in a cloud thing has confirmed, for me, the likelihood of actual echoes) which I have loved ever since re-reading it in Craven's profile on Abuzz. I think it is the Poe poem I truly love.

You know, I am sure I must have read "The Poetic Principle" - but I shall go and have a look.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 12:11 am
Gouki wrote:
oh I think i understand now. so this is some sick evil ironic twist in the end. So even in the mildest, calmest of all scenery, he could always see the dark?


Hmmm - I do not know as I see it that way - irony, especially, is not a thing I see often in Poe (though parts of The Raven make me laugh aloud - but I do not know that Poe intended that they should! Very ready to be challenged on that one.) - I think the poet sees it more as a tragic affliction. I think there IS irony - in that Poe sees it as a personal, and particular, horror (in keeping with the Romantic Weltenschaung) - whereas many (such as I) would see it as a normal aspect of the human condition - but one often heavily defended against.

The christianity of Poe's era (and this one, for all I know?) would consider this cast of mind as a temptation to be eschewed - perhaps with the aid of a little castor oil?

Lol - I am, as often, in the middle of such a "debate". It makes for good poetry - but imagine having to LIVE with Poe!
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 07:27 am
I dunno, dlowan. I think Poe does see the irony in his condition. At some level he knows that the average person would look at the cloud and say, "That looks just like an evil monster. Weird, huh?" and pass on. But for Poe, seeing that monster in a cloud shape is symbolic of his constantly morbid state of mind. He is aware of his own morbidity, of the demons that haunt his waking hours. Unless you have some other definition of "irony."
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 08:06 am
Deb, Blake is a mystic. My sister and I used to debate all the time over whether the lamb and the lion were symbolic or just a lamb and a lion.

I'm not even going to tell Craven about the book that suggests that Poe not only plagiarized The Raven, but committed murder as well. Rolling Eyes

Gouki, I truly hope by now that you are beginning to grasp the import of Poe's "Alone".
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 03:23 pm
Well, now you've piqued my curiosity, Letty. What book is that? (I'm ready to believe the plagiarized Raven story. Read his "The Principles of Composition" very carefully.)
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 03:42 pm
Andy, I've spent so much time on the web today that I'm turning into a spider with Barney Google eyes. lol.

The book, I think, was written by a woman and it had a disclaimer that read:

"If you like Poe, you won't want to read this book."

I'll try and relocate it later.
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