The chapter entitled “Ravens” to me is slightly what I expected. Just as Edgar Allan Poe used his poem “The Raven” to talk about mysteriousness and supernaturality, so does Williams to portray the raven as a symbol of death and darkness throughout the chapter. The chapter starts with a symbol of death as mother begins her radiation treatment with less than a 40 percent chance to live.
As Williams turns to Great Salt Lake, symbols of death continue to arise as she talks about floating on their backs, resting, dissolving in peace. Continuing with the appearance of the raven, words like “gaunt”, “dark-eyed” and “corpses” are used, insinuating the apparent death of mother.
Williams begins to talk about the 1920s and her grandmother, relating to death in a sense that when one prepares to die, they think back to the past and remember old memories and experiences. When talking about Saltair and how its charred posts look like ravens, she continues to go back to old memories pre-Depression that were destroyed. As she flashes back to the present, however, the relation to ghosts and abandoned monuments on a starlit night really brought me back to Poe’s raven and the eeriness that is connoted with it. The ghosts at the Great Salt Lake are brought about by the appearance of the raven and Williams’ mother’s cancer as the ghosts dance on the lake at night.