American Literature Edgar Allan Poe- Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

" The crumb evidently symbolizes the feeding of hope. The author thus hints that she does not feed her hopes, emphasizing thus her pessimism. In another poem, a Bird Came down the Walk, the protagonist is a real bird. This time, Dickinson does not use the figure of the bird allegorically but rather as a symbol: the bird descends and kills a worm without being aware that somebody is watching it. The common element that links the poems is again the crumb: the poet offers the bird a crumb and is again refused, as it flies swiftly away. The theme however is very different: the bird refuses the crumb because it is satisfied in its own world, from which the poet is excluded. Thus, the two poems use the figure of the bird in very different ways, to represent different poetical themes.

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle's wife is obviously a villain, in striking contrast with the mild and subservient nature of her husband. Presumably an allegory of the state of things in America during Irving's time, the story relates the bizarre adventure of Rip Van Winkle, who, trying to escape his nagging wife, took a long walk in the Catskill Mountains one day, and was magically put to sleep for twenty years. Dame Van Winkle is a prototypical nagging and sharp-tongued wife, who is constantly praying on her husband and children. The author obviously draws a very unflattering portrait of Van Winkle's wife, contrasting her mood with the magical undertones of the story. The Catskill Mountains are a fabulous realm, casting a spell over the travelers that climb them. Story telling, another important element of the narrative, as well as the spell of sleep that keeps Rip Van Winkle away from his village for twenty years, are other important elements. As opposed to all this, Dame Van Winkle is a bickering, narrow-minded woman that only spoils her husband's meditative moods. She represents materialism and commonness, as opposed to imagination and magic in her husband. The Dame's death, which comes "in a fit of passion" is significant because it emphasizes her evil and eventually self-destructive nature. Thus, she is the prototypical villain contrasted with the mild and dreamy Rip Van Winkle.

Works Cited

Dickinson, Emily. Collected Poems. New York: Barnes and Nobles, 2003.

Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle. New York: Vintage, 1976.

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Complete…

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