From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
Edgar Allan Poe
The painting depicts two scenarios. The top-left being the brighter one with the sunlight being bestowed upon the rest of the normal people. The sunlight here symbolizes happiness. This brighter half depicts the other normal people leading a life; from having a happy childhood with a supportive family to having great childhood buddies and growing up with them; from falling in love with the love of their life to having a blessed marriage and family with them. The chimney at the top of the house depicts a secure life and the smoke coming out of the chimney depicts that the family has ample food to survive on. The next phase shows the green normal kid, growing up with his buddies and his journey from a see-saw to owning a car. The next two phases are the green normal boys step towards finding his love and settling happily with her. The use of bright colours is deliberate to signify a happy and joyful scenario. Even the dividing line is red towards the happier side. This can also be depicted by the smile on every one’s face.
As opposed to the brighter side, the lower- right symbolizes Poe and the shadows of his troubled past which is unable to let go of. The use of shadows is deliberate even though the moon is crescent and is not casting much light. The shadows signify his parents who left him when he was three years old and Victoria, his wife whose shadow is slightly away from that of Poe’s because of their recent separation. The use of dark blue as the background is deliberate as even Poe refers to the heavens to be blue and signifies it to be a colour representing grief. Poe’s highlighted in blue depicting the elements of his aura to be sadness and sorrow and is coloured in shades of black since he exists as a nobody in the world. The shadows are also drawn as a reference for Poe to solve his mystery i.e. why has he come into this world and what is his purpose in life. Also, his shadow is coloured dark black because of the negativity, which is also referred to as the demon in the poem.