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MOOD: The atmosphere that pervades a literary work with the intention of evoking a
certain emotion or feeling from the audience. For now, we will focus on looking at how
an author can create a certain mood through setting, sights, sounds, and the diction
(words) of a piece in general.
The moods evoked by the more popular short stories of Edgar Allen oe, for e!ample,
tend to be gloomy, horrific, and desperate.
Mood Analysis: Short Excerpt from Edgar Allen Poes The Raen!
"nce upon a midnight dreary, while # pondered, weak and weary
"ver many a $uaint and curious volume of forgotten lore %%
&hile # nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
' (T is some visitor, ' # muttered, 'tapping at my chamber door%%
"nly this and nothing more.'
In this stanza, the setting of a midnight dreary, or gloomy midnight hour, immediately
creates a mysterious, gloomy feeling. The speaker is weak and weary, which again
contributes to the gloomy feel, since readers imagine a frail, saddened person alone in
huge empty chamber. Poe then repeats the words tapping and rapping to create
more anxious suspense, as both the speaker and readers do not know who could be
knocking at the chamber door.
Ah, distinctly # remember it was in the bleak )ecember*
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly # wished the morrow %% vainly # had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow %% sorrow for the lost +enore%%
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name +enore%%
,ameless here for evermore.
Poe continues to eoke a gloomy, mysterious mood by describing the time of the year as
bleak !ecember, which con"ures isions of a dark, cold season. #is use of words such
as dying and the images of firelight ghosts makes readers think of death and scary,
supernatural things, increasing the rising sense of suspense. $oreoer, Poe repeats the
word sorrow twice, making readers feel the same.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me %% filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before-
.o that now, to still the beating of my heart, # stood repeating.
' (T is some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door%%
.ome late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door%%
That it is and nothing more.'
#ere, Poe again uses sound, a sad, uncertain rustling to strengthen the poem%s spooky
and sorrowful feeling. &ut readers can also sense the growing terror with the sound of
the speaker%s beating heart.
This is only a short e!cerpt of the poem, but we can see in /ust a few stan0as how,
through his choice of words, oe creates a gloomy, mysterious mood and rising sense of
desperate horror in readers.