Essay on Literary Devices from Edgar Allen Poe and Bradstreet

Sample essay about Literary Devices used by Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Bradstreet:

Throughout the centuries, there are poems that seem to catch the attention of the masses. These poems captivate the reader, their words reeling a fascination so intense that even if they’re written over a century ago they are still widely read and studied. In 1678, Anne Bradstreet’s poem “The Author to Her Book” was published, and read extensively across America. Roughly 150 years after Bradstreet’s publication a morbid poet named Edgar Allan Poe made his way into notoriety in the literary world. His poem “The Raven was one of his many masterpieces that created a screeching buzz in his time. These poets have hundreds of years compiled with their poetry being read, analyzed and studied nationally even internationally. So what is it that makes these poems classical and accepted by so many readers? What do they have in common perhaps with other poems that set them on a literary altar? While thoroughly analyzing the similarities and differences of each poem I discovered, that however poetic in nature each poem sounds, it is the literary devices that are used masterfully in each poem that entrap millions of wandering eyes.

In analyzing the two poems that were written in different eras, a deeper view into each poem gives us a common poetic device which many poets use, that is rhyme scheme. In Bradstreet’s poem, her rhyme scheme is simple, she uses the AABB scheme, this rhyme scheme is effective and keeps the eyes smoothly transitioning from line to line. “Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain, who after birth didst by my side remain.” (225) Her poem is a self-conscious perspective into the insecurities lurking in her mind as she reads over her work, a problem that seems to plague most artists alike. Poe’s masterpiece entitled “The Raven” uses a different rhyme scheme that creates an interesting effect. Poe uses a rhyme scheme that is much more complicated and musical. His technique is used within his lines “presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer.” (638) Both of these poets indulge in the use of rhyme to get their points across in a musical and ear-pleasing manner. Poe’s manner of writing; his mysterious narratives filled with heart-pounding suspense, melancholy characters and morbid scenery mold a personality that fits the way he used this rhythmic technique. His writing glides the eye, bouncing from rhyme to rhyme within the darkness in his lines, becoming a cinematic angle panning into the dim lit room of Poe’s main character shouting to a raven.  In comparison to Bradstreet, whose poem leans toward self-consciousness and becomes reflective in her more “choppy” manner of writing. Causing the readers eyes to stop abruptly after each rhyme, climb down towards the next line, and giving one time to become as questionable and conscious as she herself does in “Author to her Book”. As diverse as each poem may seem, it is their use of specific rhyme techniques that assist in grabbing the reader and keeping them on the page long enough to build the audience they received during their distinct eras.

Similarly enough, both of these famous poets use a common poetic device called metaphor. Bradstreet’s poem takes the term metaphor and expands it throughout the whole poem. In just her first line she exposed us the transformation in which her book of poetry becomes, an offspring “Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain.” (224) Bradstreet converts her first published book into a child; one where she goes on to point out the flaws and the way it was conceived. Her use of metaphor constructs the foundation of her poem, connecting the reader by reflecting a form of personification to a literary publication that is her own. Poe on the other hand, uses his metaphors within his poem, his most important metaphor being the raven that squawks “nevermore” endlessly. In Poe’s use of metaphor he uses the Raven as a form of grief, death and perhaps even insanity. Poe writes “”Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or devil!” (639) The character himself is seeing the raven as a thing of evil visiting him from the afterlife to taunt him. It is not only the use of metaphor, but more importantly the way these metaphors are used that convey the points each poet is trying to make. According to the feedback of their readers they do so successfully, composing their poetry with a careful use of this particular literary device.

In whatever era one may be studying poetry; we will always come across the techniques and devices used by Anne Bradstreet and Edgar Allan Poe. The significance of such techniques can also be seem in poems written during the time of Homer, or even present day poets. Rhyme scheme allows the readers to satisfy their mental ears by riding the lullaby the poet gives off, while metaphor gives the reader a telescope into the world that is their poetry.  Although the styles of such prominent poets were much diverse in both theme and plain writing style, it is their similar techniques that hold a string in between their work, regardless of century.

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