The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Middle School ELA and High School ELA Categories!

This Teacher Guide Includes:

    Looking for inspirational engagement for your students during your unit on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven? Check out this teacher guide, full of creative ways to use storyboards that excite your students!

    By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!

    A Quick Synopsis of The Raven (Contains Plot Spoilers)

    The Raven is one of Edgar Allen Poe's most famous works. The poem takes place just after midnight on a December evening. A depressed man is sitting in his library, drifting in and out of sleep as he reminisces about Lenore, his dead lover.

    Suddenly, he hears a knock, but sees nothing on opening his door. Startled, he convinces himself it was only the wind against the window. He goes to the window to let in fresh air, and a raven swoops in, to perches above the door.

    The narrator talks to the bird, and inquires if it has a name. The raven says, “Nevermore.” Surprised by this response, the narrator continues to question the bird. The bird's only reply to questions is, “Nevermore.”

    The narrator fears the bird was sent to torture him. He asks a final question: will he ever hold his love, Lenore, again? The raven, of course, answers, "Nevermore". It becomes clear throughout the poems that the man is delirious and distraught over the loss of his love.

    Essential Questions For The Raven Unit:

    1. How do great writers create a mood that readers can feel?
    2. What are the parts of a poem, and how can identifying them aid analysis?
    3. How do literary elements affect readers understanding of a literary work?

    Plotting the Events in "The Raven"

    A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

    Poe’s “The Raven" is one of the most recognizable poems ever written. It's narrative style, many stanzas, and repetition makes this ballad readily memorable. With the morbid obsession, eerie tone, and captivating imagery, it is hard to forget.

    Creating a Plot Diagram of the events in the poem can significantly help students to grasp key concepts and events. Student then can use the familiar plot diagram to track the actions, thoughts, and interactions of the main character and the raven.

    Example Plot Diagram:

    • Introduction (Setting/Time)
    • “The Raven" is set in at midnight on a bleak December night, as a man dozes in his chair.

    • Conflict
    • The man is distraught over the loss of his loved one, Leanore.

    • Rising Action (Protagonist/Antagonist/Point of View)
    • Suddenly, he hears a knocking, tapping, rapping at his chamber door. He discovers it is a raven.

    • Climax
    • After a lengthy conversation with the bird, the speaker asks if he will ever see Leanore again. The Raven replies: 'Nevermore.'

    • Falling Action (What is Learned)
    • Angry with the birds answer, the speaker kicks him out!

    • Conclusion (Theme)
    • The sorrow and sadness that comes with the loss of a loved one can never be undone.

    The Raven - Narrative Arc
    Create your own at Storyboard That INTRODUCTION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION The Raven is set in at midnight on a bleak December night, as a man dozes in his chair. The man is distraught over the loss of his loved one, Leanore. Suddenly, he hears a knocking, tapping, rapping at his chamber door. He discovers it is a raven. After a lengthy conversation with the bird, the speaker asks if he will ever see Leanore again. The Raven replies: 'Nevermore.' Angry with the birds answer, the speaker kicks him out! The sorrow and sadness that comes with the loss of a loved one can never be undone.

    Example

    Start My Free Teacher Trial »

    Using TP-CASTT to Explore The Raven

    Poetry is one of the most expressive forms of literature. It can evoke emotions, set a mood, tell a story, or create a deeply and universally understood feeling in its readers. This makes expounding its elements, and understanding its rich meaning, comparisons, and symbols, even more important.

    The TP-CASTT method of poetry analysis is a great way to teach students to dissect a poem and understand its parts. It helps students to uncover the deeper meanings within poems while giving them the confidence to be self-educators. TP-CASTT Poetry Analysis is an order of operations similar to PEMDAS for math. It asks students to list items in sequential order and answer questions based on their reading of the poem.

    For explanation of steps, see our article on the TP-CASTT order of operations.

    • Title:
    • The title will be about a black bird and the bad luck it will bring.

    • Paraphrase:
    • A man loses someone he loved, named Lenore. He is devastated. One night, in December, while sitting in his room, he hears a knock. A raven visits him. It makes him angry when it tells him that he'll never see Lenore again.

    • Connotation:
    • The man is severely depressed, and is caught in his grief.

    • Attitude/Tone:
    • Poe uses words like 'chamber', 'ponder', 'weary', 'bleak', 'ghosts', and 'embers' to make the dead come alive. These words are depressing and melancholy.

    • Shifts:
    • A shift occurs when the speaker asks the raven if he will ever see Lenore again. This shows his anger with the bird, whom he kicks out.

    • Title:
    • After reading the poem, my title was partially correct. The poem was about a raven, but he represented sorrow and death.

    • Theme:
    • One interpretation of the theme: even though death is painful and sad, one must not dwell on it, or it will consume one.

    This is a great activity to have students do in a small group!

    Once they are finished ask them to create a storyboard with the TPCASTT Steps:

    The Raven - TPCASTT
    Create your own at Storyboard That The title will be about a black bird and the bad luck it will bring. A man loses someone he loved, named Lenore. He is devastated. One night, in December, while sitting in his room, he hears a knock. A raven visits him. It makes him angry when it tells him that he'll never see Leonore again. The man is severely depressed, and is caught in his grief. Poe uses words like 'chamber', 'ponder', 'weary', 'bleak', 'ghosts', and 'embers' to make the dead come alive. These words are depressing and melancholy. A shift occurs when the speaker asks the raven if he will ever see Leonore again. This shows his anger with the bird, whom he kicks out. After reading the poem, my title was partially correct. The poem was about a raven, but he represented sorrow and death. One interpretation of the theme: even though death is painful and sad, one must not dwell on it, or it will consume one. T - Title P - Paraphrase C - Connotation A - Attitude / Tone S - Shift T - Title T - Theme MathSpiritScienceArt MathSpiritScienceArt