Thursday, January 8, 2015

Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee and Death

Annabel Lee doll rescued not from a seaside grave, but from a Good Will Store
Love after death is a favorite subject of mine since I've experienced a few losses in the past decade or so. Obviously, you don't stop loving someone simply because they aren't physically present any longer. How long is a healthy grieving period? What is expected behavior in moving on with your life? When does mourning become obsessive behavior? How do you know when you're over the loss?  Is it healthy to remain loyal and devoted to a dead lover even if you've moved on and grown in other areas of your life, such as a career?

These questions came to mind as I was reading "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe and came to the last lines where the speaker lies down by the title character's side in her tomb. Is that literal or figurative? Does he physically lie down in her tomb or does he lie in his bed imagining she's by his side? Being poetry, I suppose it's however the reader sees it, but I wonder how Poe meant it. Poe was never covered in any of the poetry courses I took in college, so I'm on my own here. 

Those final lines remind me of Wuthering Heights where Nell describes Heathcliff's despair-filled confession of digging up Cathy's grave to see her one more time. Sweet! Yet, gruesome. Gruesomely sweet! Can we compare the same soul entwining love that existed between Heathcliff and Catherine to Annabel Lee and her grieving lover?

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