Comprehension Questions for “The Raven”

Comprehension Questions for “The Raven”
1. List three verbs that show what the poem’s narrator is doing in the first stanza.
Pondered (deep in thought)
Nodded (falling asleep)
2. The narrator of the poem is sad because his lost love is dead. What is her name and how does he try to
escape his sorrow?
Her name is Lenore and the narrator is trying to escape the sorrow by lighting reading (“Many a quaint and
3. What fills the narrator’s heart with terror in stanza 3?
The sad and uncertain rustling of each purple curtain. The movement of the curtains is making him feel afraid.
4. What does the narrator see when he first opens the chamber door (stanza 4)?
5. In stanza 7, the raven flies into the narrator’s chamber. Where does the raven perch?
A bust of Pallas (The goddess of wisdom) above the chamber door.
6. What is the first question the narrator asks the raven (stanza 8)?
“Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore”
7. What is the raven’s only answer to the narrator’s questions?
8. In stanza 12, the narrator sits down in front of the raven. What is the narrator thinking as he looks at the
He is trying to figure out what the raven is trying to tell him by saying, “Nevermore.”
9. As the poem progresses, the narrator becomes more and more furious with the raven. Why does he
become so angry?
2 questions which make him angry:
1- Will I ever be cured?  “balm and Gilead”- the elixir which will cure him from his pain.
2- The raven only responds nevermore- when he asks if he will ever see his lost love.
10. Where is the raven at the end of the poem (stanza 18)? What does the raven’s presence tell the reader
about the narrator’s grief?
Still sitting, not leaving. The ravens presence says that the narrator’s grief will never go away.
Literary Questions
11. Edgar Allan Poe is famous for using symbolism in his stories and poetry. How could the raven be a
symbol in this poem? What clues does Poe give you to imply that the raven is a symbol rather than a
literal creature?
 The raven is black= death, sadness, a bird of prey.
o The raven talks (ravens do not talk).
o Take thy beak from out my heart  this refers to the author’s grief.
12. Poe is also famous for using allusions in his writing. Use your glossary of literary terms to define
allusion. Then find and write down two examples from “The Raven.” Next to each example you
provide, write down the type of allusion it is (literary, mythological, biblical, etc.).
Allusion- a reference that you are making to: media, art, biblical, etc.
Bust of Pallas- mythological
Night’s Plutionian shore- mythological
Balm and gileadNepenthy- medieval times
13. How would you describe the atmosphere created by the setting? Which images in the beginning of the
poem create this atmosphere?
ATMOSPHERE- (or mood) refers to the feeling the reader gets about the story based on the details
the author uses. Atmosphere is created by the description of backgrounds and settings, and
sometimes by description of the characters and events.
Atmosphere: Melancholy.
What images make you feel that way?
o Midnight
o Curtains are billowing in the wind
o The fantastic terrors that thrilled him
o Purple- adds to the Romantic atmosphere.