Poe's Poetry Problems

By: Kaitlynn Kroll

Language Style

E.A. Poe has a very broad variety to his language style. Most of which he uses in almost every one of his poems. But the ones that stood out to me where consonance and personification, and i often found more than 3 examples each poem, although we were only required to have 2. Listed are the examples of consonance in the 3 poems:

"A Dream Within a Dream"


  • Line 1: "Take this kiss upon the brow"
  • Lines 7 and 8: "In a night, in a day/ in a vision, or in none"


"A Dream"


  • Line 13: "What though that light, thro' storm and night"
  • Line 7: "To him whose eyes are cast"


"Dreams"


  • Line 5: "'Twere better than the cold reality"
  • Line 7: "And hath been still upon the lovely earth"
  • Line 7: "And hath been still upon the lovely earth"



Listed are the personification examples from each poem:


"A Dream Within a Dream"

  • Line 6: "Yet if hope has flown away"
  • Line 15 and 16: "Grains of the golden sand/ How few! yet how they creep"


"A Dream"

  • Line 10: "While all the world were chiding"
  • Lines 9 and 11: "The holy dream.../ hath cheered me as a lovely beam"


"Dreams"

  • Lines 23 and 24: "... or the moon/ ... in her lofty noon"
  • Line 34: "Then young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known"



While we might not notice the meaning behind these language styles right away, they are there. The effect of consonance is to draw the audience into words, and this happens through the metered beat that consonance takes on, just like the beats in rap music. The author's purpose for personification is to provide a more imaginative and not of this world feeling to the poems. Again, there are many other language styles used through out these poems, these two stood out to me.

Syntactical Style

One syntactical device used in all 3 of Poe's poems is end stopped line. There are many others, but this one I think holds the most significance. There many examples of this in each poem, but I've only selected a few. These are the examples i chose:


"A Dream Within a Dream"

  • Line 9: "Is it therefore the less gone?"
  • Line 1: "Take this kiss upon the brow!"
  • Line 3: "Thus much let me avow-"
  • Line 5: "That my days have been a dream."


"A Dream"

  • Line 16: "In Truth's day-star?"
  • Line 2: "I have but dreamed of joy departed-"
  • Line 11: "Hath cheered me as a lovely beam."


"Dreams"

  • Line 18: "Of mine own thought- what more could I have seen?"
  • Line 1: "Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!"
  • Line 27: "I have been happy, tho' in a dream."




The purpose for the author using end stopped line is to signify when he has competed a sentence or has stopped talking about one thing and moved onto another. It helps as emotion or understanding of what the character is going through or whats going on. Like with an exclamation mark, it shows that the character is excited about something, or a question mark, it shows that the character is confused or asking a question.


Thematic Style

The overall theme in the poems is that he prefers his dreams to the starkness of reality. In lines 2-4 in "A Dream" it reads, "I have dreamed a dream of joy departed-/ But a waking dream of life and light/ Hath left me broken-hearted." In these lines, he is saying that his dreams are filled with joy, but when he wakes up to a world full of life, it makes his sad/depressed. In "A dream Within a Dream", lines 16-22, he is saying "Through my fingers to the deep,/ While I weep- while I weep!" His dreams are "slipping through his fingers" implying that he is starting to forget them, but he doesn't want to. They start to fade, and he cries because he is unable to remember the sweetness of dreaming. Stated in lines 4-5 in "Dreams", Poe says "Yes! tho' that dream were of hopeless sorrow/ 'Twere better than the cold reality." He is clearly stating that not matter what you dream, as long as you are dreaming, is a better alternative to being awake and living in reality. So, the overall theme displayed in the 3 poems is that the wondrous feeling of dreaming is preferred to the boring, complex and unimaginative ways of reality.