The differences and nuances between denotation and connotation are a popular topic to cover and review when discussing English grammar. In order for students to best understand and apply the use of tone in writing and literature, they must have a firm grasp of the distinction between what words denote and connote.
"The Raven" is one of Edgar Allan 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. He goes to the window to let in fresh air, and a raven swoops in, perching itself above the door.
Teaching students to look at a poem with an order of operation in mind gives them a framework to start their analysis. TPCASTT stands for title, paraphrase, connotation, attitude/tone, shift, title, theme. This method is great to start students reading and inferring with little assistance from the instructor. Use some or all of the activities in this teaching guide to get your students excited about poetry!
TPCASTT The Raven - TPCASTT Title Paraphrase Connotation Attitude/Tone Shift Title Theme
T - Title
P - Paraphrase
C - Connotation
A - Attitude / Tone
S - Shift
Will I ever see Lenore again?
T - Title
T - Theme
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 Lenore 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.