Writing about The Raven

Contributor: Rebecca Hann. Lesson ID: 10756

Once you've tried to understand Poe, have you vowed "Nevermore"? The formula for interpreting any work is easy when you practice the simple steps outlined here. Join Homer Simpson and Poe's The Raven!

categories

Literary Studies, Writing

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

The Simpsons - Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven:

As you can see from The Simpsons, there are many different interpretations of The Raven.

If you have not completed the first lesson in our The Raven Analysis series, please go to Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar to do so now.

Because Edgar Allen Poe died more than a hundred years ago, there is no way to know for certain exactly what he meant within the poem. Some of the more accepted interpretations include the following:

  • "Lenore is dead, and the narrator of the poem is depressed about it." Some scholars argue that the raven represents the narrator's depression.
  • "The narrator is dead and moving into the afterlife." He is worried about seeing Lenore again because she is not the one that has died.
  • "The narrator dreams the whole thing." This interpretation has gone so far as to argue that Lenore never even existed, and that she is just a character from a book that the narrator thinks of in his dream.

Obviously, these interpretations can't all be true because they contradict one another. So, how can all three be accepted? Because those who defend these interpretations use evidence from within the poem to support their thinking. Good writers do not just state their opinion and expect others to believe them; they know that they have to prove what they are thinking, and the proof comes from what they find within the text.

A good piece of writing would follow a formula like this:

  • An introductory paragraph that explains the point of the paper and gives the writer's thesis (a thesis is the statement or theory that the writer is going to prove).
  • A body, that could be several paragraphs, that provides the proof to back up the writer's thinking (writers should restate their thesis, give evidence from the text to support their thinking, and then explain how the evidence proves their thinking).
  • A conclusion paragraph that restates the writer's thesis and summarizes the proof that supports his or her thinking.

Think about your favorite movie, television show, book, or sports team (just choose one topic from these categories). What makes it better than others?

Using the formula above, write a short piece explaining why your favorite movie, television show, book, or sports team is better than the other movies, television shows, books, or sports teams. Share your writing with your parent or teacher and evaluate it together. Determine whether you followed the formula and provided — and explained — evidence to support your thinking. Revise your writing if necessary.

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