Presenter: Alana Wilson Living with Loss: Edgar Allan Poe & the Stages of Grief Introduction While some scholars believe that the poem Annabel Lee most likely refers to Edgar Allan Poe’s first love, Sarah Elmira Royster, it was written about his former wife, Virginia. The raven magnifies Poe’s mental state and is representative of his grieving stages over the loss of his wife. These two poems highlight the downward spiral Poe had gone through after losing his wife and subsequently succumbing to insanity. The Identity of Annabel Lee Virginia Clemm Poe - “That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling / [a]nd killing my Annabel Lee” (Poe 260) - “… Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride” (Poe 261) - “. . . Poe calls Annabel Lee ‘my life and my bride.’ Unless ‘bride’ is used here only in the spiritual sense, Annabel Lee is Virginia Clemm Poe. And, in addition, the implications of the ‘chilling and killing’ of the ‘bride’ substantiate Virginia's claim rather than [Sarah’s].” (Booth 17) Sarah Elmira Royster - “She was a child and I was a child” (Poe 260) - - “… her highborn kinsmen came / [a]nd bore her away from me” (Poe 260) “Taking the circumstances occurring shortly before Poe’s death, and adding it to his bittersweet memories of youth, Poe’s Annabel Lee most likely refers to his first love, Sarah Elmira Royster.” (Dumas 318-9) Stages of Grief Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance Conclusion • After the passing of his wife, Poe was in denial at first hoping that she had come to visit him. He suddenly descended into anger and rage upon the realization that she’s never coming back. After failing to bargain with “a higher power” for more time with his wife, Poe felt hopeless and was stricken with depression. But eventually, he had overcome his grief and was finally able to adapt to his loss. Work Cited • Asselineau, Roger. “Edgar Allan Poe.” Edgar Allan Poe - American Writers 89: University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers, NED-New edition, University of Minnesota Press, 1970, pp. 5–44, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttw02.2. • Booth, Bradford A. “The Identity of Annabel Lee.” College English, vol. 7, no. 1, National Council of Teachers of English, 1945, pp. 17–19, https://doi.org/10.2307/371416. • Dumas, Jacky W. “The ‘Annabel Lee’ Blues: Re-Reading Edgar Allan Poe’s Rhythm and Rhyme Scheme.” The Comparatist, vol. 43, no. 1, 2019, pp. 313–23. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1353/com.2019.0016. • Flatt, Bill. “Some Stages of Grief.” Journal of Religion and Health, vol. 26, no. 2, Springer, 1987, pp. 143–48, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27505917. Work Cited • Kelly, Joseph. “The Seagull Book of Poems.” Edgar Allan Poe, Fourth, New York, NY, W. W. Norton and Company, 2017, pp. 255–61. • Kennedy, J. Gerald. "Edgar Allan Poe." Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage, edited by Robin W. Winks and Maureen Corrigan, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998. Gale Literature Resource Center, link.gale.com/apps/doc/H1485100052/LitRC?u=stpeters &sid=bookmark-LitRC&xid=81c8ca13. Accessed 31 Mar. 2022.