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Comparative Analysis of 'The Raven' and 'To Autumn'

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“The Raven” and “To Autumn” are two romantic poems that are written in the same time period yet have very different views. In the poem “The Raven” it follows a man who is sitting in his bedroom mourning the loss of his beloved Lenore, when all of a sudden a raven appears at his window. He begins to talk with this raven as if it is a person and more and more he is sent into a devastating mental state of depression and hate. On the other hand, “To Autumn” is a very different type of poem from “The Raven”. This piece is nowhere near the amount of sadness and hate. In this poem, the author is creating a vivid image of the season autumn and how it reaches a state of perfect maturity and how beautiful different parts of nature are in this time. Through different themes, tone, shifts, and figurative language, the poems, “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe and “To Autumn” by John Keats each prove that literature is a reflection of its time.

To begin, a poetic element for each of the poems is the theme of emotionalism and its effect within the poems. John Keats says, “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness / Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun” (Keats 1-2). This shows Keat’s romantic perspective of the beauty of nature, more specifically the season of autumn, and how bright and happy nature is. This is a product of its time because romantics of this time period held nature to a very high standard and believed that nature was very beautiful which is shown in this poem. Poe had a different view, he says, “’Prophet!’ said I, ‘thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil!— / Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore’ (Poe 85-86). This shows Poe’s romantic views because he is in a critical mental state and thinks the raven is of supernatural entity or something of the devil. This is a product of its time because religion was a major part of people’s lives and the fear of the devil was very present in the time period which was reflected in this literature. Ultimately, both poems use theme to show romanticism and how literature is a reflection of its time.

In addition, a poetic element of the poems is tone of depression and sadness versus happiness and nature loving between the two pieces. Keats illustrates a nature loving and happy tone by illustrating, “Until they think warm days will never cease / For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells”. Keats shows romanticism with tone by shining a light on autumn and using a nature loving and happy tone in his poem to show his views that nature is beautiful. This is a product of its time because during the time, people who were romantics believed that nature was all good and happy things which reflects into this poem. Poe has a different perspective and says, “Other friends have flown before — / On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before” (Poe 58-60). Poe shows romanticism in this quote because he uses a sad and depressed tone when speaking about his loss and how there is no hope left in society and himself and he feels isolated. This is a product of its time because romantics had no faith in society and that reflects into this piece of literature. All in all, tone is used in both poems to show romanticism and reflect on the literature of the time period.

Also, a poetic element used in both poems is the shifting of time and emotion within the poem itself. Keats ends, “Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft / The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft / And gathering swallows twitter in the skies” (32-33). This shows romanticism with shifts by beginning the poem with bright beginnings of autumn and by the end of the poem shifts to a subtle end with the sun setting and foreshadowing the start of death and winter. This is a product of its time because romantics associated the seasons with time of your life which is creativity shown by Keats in this poem. Poe ends with, “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor / Shall be lifted—nevermore!” (Poe 107-108). This shows romanticism with shifts because it begins with a loss of faith in humanity and depressed mental state to death which romantics believed death was inevitable. This is a product of its time because the fear and inevitable death that romanticism portrayed reflected into the authors writing of this poem. To conclude, both poems use shifting to show romanticism and how it reflects on literature and makes it a product of the time period.

Finally, a poetic element for both of the poems is figurative language in which personification is used to bring nature and a raven to life in these poems. Keats uses personification when saying, “ Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun / Conspiring with him how to load and bless” (Keats 2-3). This shows romanticism because it personifies nature as a friend and a living thing and that it is amazing. This is a product of its time because it personifies and portrays nature as beautiful which is the view Keats had when writing this. Poe screams, “On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore— / Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!” / Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”” (Poe 88-90). This shows romanticism because it personifies the raven as if he was talking to him. Romantics personify things of nature as higher powers and he believes the raven is the devil which connects the major importance of religion and romanticism. This is a product of its time because the high belief of nature and religion caused personification of nature and the devil which reflected into the writing of the author of the poem. To sum it all up, both poems use figurative language to show romanticism and reflect on the literature of the time.

In conclusion, both poems “The Raven” and “To Autumn” prove literature is a reflection of its time through theme, tone, shifts, and figurative language. Both are romanticism poems, yet each poem has its own completely different view. “The Raven” takes a very negative view of the world and reflects that in the poem through depression and sadness. However, “To Autumn” has a very bright and nature loving view of the world which reflects on the poem giving it a happy and nature appreciative tone and theme. Both reflect the world in that time period throughout the poems which prove how literature is a product of its time.

Works Cited

  1. Keats, John. “To Autumn by John Keats.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation,
  2. Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, 

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Comparative Analysis Of ‘The Raven’ And ‘To Autumn’. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from
“Comparative Analysis Of ‘The Raven’ And ‘To Autumn’.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Comparative Analysis Of ‘The Raven’ And ‘To Autumn’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Jun. 2022].
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