Writing a summary of "Annabel Lee" seems almost pointless, as the thoughts of the poet can be clearly understood. His clear, simple wording allows for no mistakes in interpretation, as he wants the story told 'accurately.' Poe's style in this piece seems to be one in which he makes a statement, and then elaborates upon it. For example, in the second stanza, Poe writes, "But we loved with a love that was more than love--/I and my ANNABEL LEE--/With a love that the wingéd seraphs in Heaven/Coveted her and me," (lines 9-12)/ The end of the third stanza, by far the longest in the duration of the piece, elaborates on what Poe has said in lines 9-12:
"The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me--
In this kingdom by the sea)
That wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE,"
The syntax of the poem and its wording almost seem to be pleading, with its repetition of several phrases and constant capitalization of the dead girl's name; "ANNABEL LEE," drives into the reader's mind the presence and sad tale of the title character. Poe has an erratic but eventually apparent 'ababcb' rhyme scheme for the majority of the poem, only deviating from it in the third and last stanzas. The poem definitely has an erratic rhythm. It reminds one of crying. When someone in dire sorrow weeps, the pain of loss comes in waves, sometimes in racking, choking sobs, occasionally ebbing into subdues crying. The rhythm and rhyme of this piece by Poe seems to do this, its closing starting off in fervent surety, and tapering off at the end of the poem as Poe lies down next to the tomb of Annabel Lee, exhausted.
"Annabel Lee" has readily apparent literary devices, both mechanical and figurative. Mechanically, Poe uses several devices in his work. Describing the events surrounding Annabel Lee's death, his word choices have negative connotations. Rather than saying, "She got sick and died," he wrote, "Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE," (line 26); Poe seems to personify the wind, making it almost sentient, "killing" his love with an ill will. The "personification serves to make the situation sound worse than it is. In reality, the author, as a young man, loved a girl who took a chill and subsequently died. Instead of this sad but true event, chalked up to illness, Poe almost blames God, making Annabel Lee's death the result of a cosmic malevolence.
Also, when Poe describes the burial, he makes it sound as if Annabel Lee's family showed him malice when they buried her. To be sure, "Her high-born kinsmen came/And bore her away from me," (lines 17-18) has a far more negative connotation than, "Her family buried her." Poe very meticulously chose his words in this piece, using negative connotation wherever possible; perhaps in his grief, he wanted his piece to have a bitter and depressed air. Poe uses some alliteration, as in the repetitive "h" in line 21, "Not half so happy in Heaven," Also, there is an example of assonance in "Annabel Lee:" "All the night-tide, I lie down by the side," (line 38) repeats the long "I" vowel sound. The poem is highly symbolic. "Annabel Lee" is representative of Edgar Allan Poe's child-bride, his cousin Virginia Clemm. The "kingdom by the sea" is Boston, where the couple lived. "She was a child," mentioned in line 7, alludes to Virginia's tender age, as she was thirteen years old when she and Poe were wed. The remainder of the poem details the dénouement of Annabel Lee, but in fact is a description of the death of Poe's wife. Both the title character and Virginia died after an illness, and were buried, leaving Poe (and the unnamed narrator) alone and melancholy.