Unburdened Love by Edgar Allen Poe – Literature Essay
Although death happens all around us all the time, that does not make it any easier to handle it. Some people handle it with much ease while others can’t do much of anything for a long time. A common thing to happen is
for someone act grief-stricken when they really are not because they feel that is what they are supposed to do. That is just what has happened in the poems “Annabel Lee “by Edgar Allen Poe and Theodore Roethke’s “Elegy for Jane”. These men both had people close to them die and they wrote about it but the ways in which they got that done are different. In “Annabel Lee” Edgar Allen Poe writes in a way that makes you feel as if you have lost a loved one by going into such detail about his love, while it seems that Theodore Roethke is trying to force his sorrow in “Elegy for Jane”.
Edgar Allen Poe’s poem talks of a love that is so strong it even makes the angels in Heaven jealous, “The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, / Went on envying her and me –” (728, 21). You are able to see with this sentence how much they cared for one another, for to make angels envious is no simple task. Roethke on the other hand is writing about a student who died and by no chance am I saying that one life was more valuable than the other but rather that Poe cared for Annabel Lee more. Because of this Poe has much more emotion in his poem. Roethke’s poem is filled with sorrow; although Poe is as well his has love in his as well. It seems that Roethke definitely cared for Jane he even may have loved her, but Poe and Annabel Lee loved each other.
While Poe and Roethke’s poem are similar in the sense that they both wrote about people they have lost, it seems that even though Poe’s wife is dead he will never stop loving her as he does now.
“And neither the angles in Heaven above, / Nor the demons down under the sea, / Can ever dissever my soul from the soul / Of the beautiful Annabel Lee –” (728, 30).
While Roethke does not have any of those, for he was “Neither father nor lover.”(839, 22) Roethke’s poem is mainly filled with him describing Jane; he does this because he wants you to picture her as he did. While Poe does nothing of the sort because he knows that no one will ever to be able to picture Annabel Lee as he does.
Roethke’s poem is very impersonal almost as if he was given a topic he did not enjoy and was told to write on it. He refers to Jane as a “skittery pigeon” (839, 19) it does not seem appropriate that you would refer to a lost love as a pigeon, which are considered pests. It is not only that one line, the whole poem is very depressing; obviously it is on death which is of course a naturally sad topic, especially when it is a child who dies. But instead of honoring her life he describes how when she was sad she wouldn’t talk to anyone. These are not the last things that you want someone to remember about a lost love, you want them to remember the good times not the bad ones. You are able to see Poe’s love for Annabel Lee jumping off the pages in his poem, for he only talks good about her, he talks about how an angel of the highest order coveted her and it is because of this that she is gone. But he still has her with him; let it be in his dreams or when the stars rise. Roethke does not have any of that, he talks of wanting to nudge Jane out of her sleep but that is it.
The difference between the two poems is that when Annabel Lee dies a part of her stays with Poe, but when Jane dies Roethke is left with really nothing emotionally and he does not truly understand why that is. He feels that he is not respecting her death and goes about mourning her, to the point that he almost makes a mockery of it all. It is not that he does not care but he is trying to hard. He is trying to mourn her as if it were his wife or his child but because she is not, she is just his student he can’t get himself to truly do it. Poe does not try to do any of that, he just stays true to himself and it really shows in his poem. Both of these people wrote their poems in order to show themselves how much they cared about their deceased and they did just that. But I feel that Roethke didn’t necessarily get the outcome that he had hoped for.