Symbols of Poe's poem The Bells

Essay by eryka_sHigh School, 11th gradeA, August 2005

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Edger Allen Poe's poem "The Bells" is a poem where the author's intention is for the reader to hear it. The poem illustrates four bells; sleigh bells, church bells, warning bells, and funeral bells. The four bells represent life, marriage, war, and death. Poe illustrates the moods that come with the sounds of these four bells and what they represent with the use of sound devices such as assonance.

In the first stanza Poe, illustrates sleigh bells, which are usually associated with wintertime and the happy feeling of the holidays. He makes the bells sound light and airy like people spirits of the time. The bells of the sleigh "tinkle, tinkle tinkle, in the icy air of night," (ln 5-6) just like the bells of the ever-popular winter song, "Jingle Bells." He uses the word tintinnabulation, which means the ringing of the bells, but just the sound alone suggests that.

The sound suggests the ringing echo of the jingling and tinkling bells.

In the second stanza, Poe illustrates wedding bells, which have a sweet happy feeling. The wedding bells of gold sounded at night to predict happiness for a newly married couple. Poe uses a long "o" sound in his words, which suggest harmoniousness, like a married couple in harmony. Words like harmony, molten- golden notes, voluminously, and floats, just rolls off the tongue in a melodious manner. The words euphony itself sounds harmonious and that is what it means, harmonious pleasing sounds.

In the third stanza, there are warning bells of danger. The brazen bells alarm people when there is hazard like a fire or a disaster. By this stanza Poe's mood changes and so does the language and the word choice he uses to illustrate these bells. These bells are harsh sounding and not very...