“Annabel Lee” by E. A. Poe, “A Dream Deferred” by L. Hughes, “One Art” by E. Bishop

Table of Contents

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

A few description words in the poem characterize the cold wind, the other two – beautiful Annabel Lee, and her bright eyes. The poem has a plot, described in the first three stanzas, which tells about the love of two children or very young people – the lyrical hero and the girl Annabel Lee. The action takes place “in a kingdom by the sea” (Gardner et al., 2016, p. 656). The reader learns only three facts about his beloved. She was a child or very young and had noble relatives. Annabel caught a cold, died, and was buried in a crypt on the seashore.

Edgar Allan Poe emphasizes the noun “love” instead of the verb “to love.” The poem is written on a tonic scale that perfectly conveys lively spoken language, the hero’s emotions. Different lengths of strophes and stanzas serve the same purpose; in the poem, lines with three and four accents per line are randomly alternated. The poem has many repetitions that create internal rhymes, smoothness, and melodiousness of the sound. It resembles a folk song or ballad praising unhappy love. Many refrains contribute to this similarity. The poet repeats the phrase “in this kingdom by the sea” in the first four stanzas, and another phrase “in her sepulchre there by the sea” appears in the sixth (Gardner et al., 2016, p. 656). There is an importance to choosing the sounds. For instance, the name of the girl – Annabel, is continuously repeated. The image is created at once by alliteration as there are only vowels and sonant sounds in the word. The name itself is consonant with the word “bell” and imitates the ringing of a bell.

Annabel Lee is not buried in a simple tomb but some mystical inaccessible sepulchre; consequently, the hero is entirely devoid of hope to find his beloved. The hero perceives the death of his beloved as a punishment for strong feelings as even angels do not have such love. It is inherent only in God, and it becomes the crime of the hero, who fell in love with Annabel Lee in the way that one can love only God. So the lovers are punished for idolatry: they loved each other more than God.

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes uses many rhetorical questions in this poem. He asks readers to consider the possible consequences of the fundamental question – what happens to a delayed dream? The poet compared a deferred idea to a dried raisin in the sun, a festering wound, and stinking rotten meat, so some dreams must come true in time (Harlem by Langston Hughes). However, the living hope, being worked on every day, is becoming more reliable and beautiful every day.

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

The poem “One Art” is a dialogue with the reader, with objects – both animate and inanimate. Dialogism is realized through a relaxed, conversational intonation, which leads to a combination of intimacy and objective detachment, dramatic pathos, and irony. Bishop chooses subtle intonation and deceptively mundane, detached tone to talk about losses. At the beginning of the text, the poet addresses the reader with assurances that the art of losing is easy to learn, and that it is not a tragedy: “Lose something every day; Then practice losing farther, losing faster” (Gardner et al., 2016, p. 764). However, in the last three stanzas, the poet talks about her losses, and the ironic relaxation is rapidly giving way to growing tension and genuine drama.


Gardner, J. E., Lawn, B., Ridl, J. R., & Schakel, P. J. (2016). Literature: A Portable Anthology. (4th ed.). Bedford/St. Martin’s

Harlem by Langston Hughes. (n.d.). 2020, Web.

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