Journal Entry 2.2 – Psychology – Ross College

For this assignment I chose to analyze one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe, in his poem A Dream within a Dream. Here is the poem, with my analysis following:

‘Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

 I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
’ (Poe, 2013)

The second passage enlivens the scene using three of our sensory perceptions; auditory, visual, and touch.  As we read in chapter 1,  our brains automatically translate visual information (such as what we read) to the occipital lobe, which then transmits the information to the temporal lobe as auditory information. When we read the beginning of the second part, our brain is processing the descriptions being given by the text. In the sense of auditory perception, Poe describes the sound of the ocean (“I stand amid the roar of a surf-tormented shore…”). When we read this sentence, it’s presumable that we understand the choppy roughness and the crashing “roaring” sound of ocean waves. The author also appeals to our visual perception with this same line; a “surf-tormented shore” could be pictured as wet, sleek, and eroded, with waves relentlessly making landfall.  He not only describes the ocean, but also the sand; both visually (“grains of golden sand”), and in our sense of touch as they creep through his fingers, and into the ocean (the ocean is also visual).
These descriptions enrich the reading experience by showing us how his dreams in this poem are so vivid that he cannot tell if he is asleep, or awake.

Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite story tellers, not only for his sombre depiction of classic horror and the macabre; but also because of his ability to envelope the reader through his alliteration and descriptive stylization.


Poe, Edgar Allan. (2013, poetry foundation). A Dream Within A Dream. The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved from:


One thought on “Journal Entry 2.2 – Psychology – Ross College

  1. Pingback: Tooth Of The Day – allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s