Thursday 19th January 2017

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To One in Paradise

Edgar Allen Poe

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine—
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“On! on!”—but o’er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o’er!
No more—no more—no more—
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams—
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.

The poem must have been written before the end of 1833, since it appears in “The Visionary,” which was published in The Lady’s Book for January 1834.

“To One In Paradise” is one of the most well known pieces by Edgar Allan Poe. This poem is the longings of one to their lover as well as the reality of broken dreams. In all his work, Poe exercises literary devices exceedingly well and “To One In Paradise” is not an exception. Together with its direct, neutral tone, Poe creates another outstanding poem that’s relatable to all. This essay is going to discuss the author’s use of poetic techniques in addition to the emotions described in this particular poem.
This piece includes 4 stanzas, each stanza consists 6 lines. “To One In Paradise” expresses an overall depressing picture of one’s despair and hopelessness, which is also the poem’s the subject matter. Poe understands deeply the distress of losing one’s dream therefore this text is a candid embodiment of a person’s temporary sadness that anyone can relate to. The first stanza creates a paradise, heavenly scenario with “green isle in the sea” with “fruits and flowers”. The narrator also claims the flowers are all his by the end of the verse. This suggests the narrator confidence and control over this imaginative haven of his. The next stanza starts as trouble arises. Jaded hopes and broken dreams keep holding him back despite the future’s calling for the narrator to move forward with his life. The third stanza reveals how the narrator is overwhelmed by grief as he deems he could not, and will not get better. In the last stanza, one’s spiritual death is shown once again. This time it is emphasized that his ghost will linger on for eternity, also implying that his pain is still not yet relieved, and probably never will be. Despite the poem’s apparent melancholy, Poe doesn’t actually advice the reader to move on or try to feel better. Therefore this is an analytical piece, written to reflect honestly one’s emotional crisis, without making any value judgments or counseling.

Many poetic techniques are utilized skillfully in this particular piece, ranging from metaphor to repetition. The poem begins with a powerful imagery. This literary device is employed thoroughly to establish the narrator’s ultimate sanctuary. Descriptive phrases such as “green isle in the sea” or “wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers” are proofs of Poe’s vast imagination and his immense talent with literary devices. This imagery also evokes a safe, peaceful figure in the readers’ mind, giving them a relaxing moment before the mishaps commence. Another remarkable technique Poe uses in this text is metaphor. The “thunder-blasted tree” and “stricken eagle” are metaphorical images for the narrator himself. With his dreams shattered and hopes buried, the narrator is devastated and feels as if things are not going to look up anyhow. To further depict this misery, Poe uses repetition. Repetition is one of the most recognizable and effective poetic devices in this poem. As a result, this specific technique is applied commonly in this piece. For instance, in stanza 3 there are 2 repetitions: “Alas, alas!” and “no more”. These two expressions are replicated many times to put emphasis on the narrator’s impotence as well as desperation. “Alas, alas” is a reference to the above, indicating the fact that the narrator is asking for help from a spiritual force, hoping to recover from his sufferings. “No more”, on the other hand, conveys an overall feel of surrender. The author uses this phrase to accentuate one’s grief and his capitulation. Repetition has a large influence over the last stanza of this poem in helping to increase anticipation as well as the subject’s emotions. All six lines in this stanza have similar, imitated structures. They all have “and all”, “are where thy” or “what” correspondingly. This overall vast use of repetition creates consistency and captures the audience’s interest. Poe’s notable usage of literary devices has not only depicted clearly and honestly the subject matter but also making it relatable to readers.

In conclusion, Poe put to great use of poetic techniques in “To One In Paradise”. His descriptive, truthful language has considerable effects on the audience in terms of making the emotions real and relevant. This poem is a remarkable analytical piece with a sensitive subject matter. Even so, Poe does not try to preach or suggest the reader what to do, making the poem even more memorable.

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