Explicating “Annabel Lee” I. Introduction a. Paraphrase the poem (not summary; idea-by-idea) b. Identify a theme of the poem The theme of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” is that of loss. II. Body a. Literary devices and figurative language—consider how the poet’s choice of language reinforces the message of the poem i. Simile ii. Metaphor- “That wind…chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.” iii. The wind can be a metaphor for the consumption that killed Poe’s wife Virginia. iv. Hyperbole- “Love that the winged seraphs of heaven coveted” (The angels were jealous) v. “That is the reason” (The angels killed her because of jealousy). The hyperbole of the angel’s involvement in Annabel Lee’s death, shows how loss creates blame for the narrator. He chooses to deal with the loss by blaming the angels. ix. x. xi. xii. xiii. xiv. xv. xvi. xvii. xviii. xix. vi. vii. Sensory detail viii. Allusion Personification Colors Movement 4 elements (earth, water, air, fire) “Kingdom by the sea” (Water) The repetition of the element water (sea) connects both the positive reflection of love, and his tragic loss. “Wind” (air) The wind represents the force that kills Annabel. “And the stars” (fire) The stars always remind him of his loss. Juxtaposition b. Sound devices—consider how sound devices help create mood and reflect or reinforce message of poem i. Rhyme continues throughout Poe uses a ABABCB the poem. end rhyme scheme in ii. Meter his first stanza. The B iii. Alliteration rhyme of sea “half so happy in heaven” “In the sepulcher there by the sea” iv. Assonance v. Consonance vi. vii. Repetition “In a kingdom by the sea” i. The repetition of the sea connects both the positive reflection of love, and his tragic loss. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. Caesuras Onomatopoeia Cacophony Euphony III. Conclusion—Brief restatement of the theme/idea and the poem’s strengths; consider relevance to reader Poe uses both figurative language and sound devices to effectively express his theme of loss in “Annabel Lee.” Although the narrator and Annabel seem to be Poe and his wife, he uses a different name, which adds to the reader being able to identify with the loss. The anapestic meter make the tone of the poem light like a nursery rhyme, juxtaposed against the dark theme. Terminology Definitions: Alliteration: The effect created when words with the same initial letter (usually consonants) are used in close proximity Allusion: Where a poem makes reference to another poem or text. Assonance: The effect created when words with the same vowel sound are used in close proximity - but where the consonants in these words are different. Cacophony: harshness in the sound of words or phrases Consonance: The effect created when words share the same stressed consonant sounds but where the vowels differ. Single consonance occurs when two words share one set of consonants e.g. 'brick' and 'clock' which share a 'ck'. Double consonance occurs when two words share all the same consonants e.g. in 'black' and 'block'. Figurative language: Language where the literal meaning of words or phrases is disregarded in order to show an imaginative relationship between diverse things. Mood/Tone: The 'tone' of a poem reveals the attitude of the poet being studied e.g. anger, love, resignation, despair, fear, boredom etc. Imagery: The creation of images using words. Poets usually achieve this by invoking comparisons by means of metaphor or simile or other figures of speech. Symbol: Words or images that signify more than they literally represent e.g. the 'sun' or the 'moon'. Symbols can carry a number of different connotations. Diction: A writer’s choice of words, particularly for clarity, effectiveness, and precision. A writer’s diction can be formal or informal, abstract or concrete. Rhyme: The effect produced when similar vowel sounds chime together and where the final consonant sound is also in agreement Meter: the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that make up a line of poetry. Meter gives rhythm and regularity to poetry. Hyperbole: A figure of speech involving exaggeration. Personification: The endowment of inanimate objects or abstract concepts with animate or living qualities. Caesura: A strong pause within a line of verse. Onomatopoeia: The use of words to imitate the sounds they describe. Words such as buzz and crack are onomatopoetic. Juxtaposition: The arrangement of two or more ideas, characters, actions, settings, phrases, or words side-by-side or in similar narrative moments for the purpose of comparison, contrast, rhetorical effect, suspense, or character development. Euphony: (from Greek "good sound"): Attempting to group words together harmoniously, so that the consonants permit an easy and pleasing flow of sound when spoken. Simile: A simile is a figure of speech used for comparison in the poetry with the words ‘like’ or ‘as’, for example, "as black as coal". Metaphor: Metaphor is used in poetry to make an implicit comparison. Unlike simile, here the comparison is implied, for example, ‘Her laughter, a babbling brook’.