Submitted by Elise Banks of Black Ant Beads
When I first was an undergraduate at a local community college, I took a lot of classes online. This was partly because I did not like to drive and partly because I loved being my own teacher. One of the first classes I took online was American Literature 1. I was lucky enough to have taken the class in the fall semester because we started out reading Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow and then moved on to Edgar Allen Poe right about Halloween.
I am not sure what it is about Poe that I love, but something just clicked for me. The melancholy stories that make you want to cry. The tales of the horrors that lay within our own hearts. Oh! I just love it!
As a part of the class, the teacher assigned us a response assignment. This assignment was totally open for all kinds of interpretation. Students could do a power point presentation, write a song or short story, or, in my case, design a piece of jewelry. Whatever the student did they had to do it as a response to what they had read. As I read Edgar Allen Poe’s fantastic poem The Raven I began to feel the darkness of the story. The pain of remembrance, the glitter of hope that sparkled for a moment and was then dashed away by the raven. I had to do a necklace.
I started by selecting beads. Black seed beads were first because they were so obviously needed. The plain darkness set the stage for the other elements of the poem. I then mixed in some labradorite chips and some dark crystals. These added the element of sparkling hope that was dark even as it was light. A Hope clouded by the knowledge that it was a useless hope. Then I added the black chains as though they were the very chains around the young man’s heart that bound him as he longed for his dead love. To finish the piece off I created a pendant in the image of that evil prophet come to bring ill tidings – the raven. I also added a couple of charms that say ‘Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”’
If you have never read The Raven--and I never did prior to receiving this story!--you can check out the full text here: http://www.eapoe.org/works/poems/ravenj.htm
Happy almost Halloween!