In my Five-Minute Writing Tip for the October newsletter, I wanted to include a seasonal topic. Finding one came easily because merchants have been stocking the shelves with Halloween merchandise since the middle of August in anticipation of October 31. So, when you put writing and Halloween together, you get Poe's "The Raven."
As I read through it, I recognized some writing devices I learned in a writing class I took from editor Margie Lawson a few months ago. Lawson started off with a handout entitled "Margie's Top 20 Rhetorical Devices." Reading Poe's most famous narrative poem, I noticed that he used some of these devices in a masterful way, resulting in more than just rhyme and rhythm.
Here are five rhetorical devices that makes the "The Raven" one of the best poems ever written:
"And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,"
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door . . ."
"Ever yet was blessed with seeing the bird above his chamber door . . ."
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door."
"Fantastic" wouldn't usually be used to modify "terrors," but Poe did it with aplomb.
On this Halloween, while your kids are sorting their Trick or Treat candy, give them a special treat: read them Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."