Loneliness in “Acquainted with the Night” Essay examples

Submitted By rutherfords689
Words: 1002
Pages: 5

Loneliness in “Acquainted with the Night” The poem “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost is the story of a lonely wanderer in his state of depression. Frost’s use of symbolism complements the somber tone and terza rima rhyme scheme to vividly depict how the speaker views the world around him in his state of mind. The reader peers into the speaker’s mind as he sinks further into his depression. His deep depression overcomes him so much that, even in the crowded city streets, the people around him cease to exist and the night is his only acquaintance. This poem is about the mindset of a person suffering with deep depression. It shows readers a side of a depressed person that they couldn’t see otherwise. The most prominent use of symbolism is the reference to dark and light. In most works of literature, dark is used to represent gloominess, sorrow, and hopelessness. Throughout the entirety of the poem, the speaker is walking in the darkness. His loneliness is immediately evident from the first line when he states “I have been one acquainted with the night.” The speaker uses the darkness of nightfall to state that he has become one with sorrow, misery, and depression. He has reached a point in his depressed state where he has gone numb to everything around him. The darkness of night is the only presence he is still aware of. Further into the stanza, the speaker uses a reference to light to further illustrate the depth of his severe depression. The speaker continues to describe his state of mind by stating “I have out-walked the furthest city light” (3). In contrast to dark, light represents hope and happiness. This particular line signifies the character’s view in where he stands in regards to hope. His hope in his situation is long gone. He has “out-walked” the depths of hope—the depths of light—leaving him to wander in the darkness. This first stanza sets the mood for the poem. It allows readers to feel the profound sense of hopelessness and depression the speaker feels during his walk. The second most prominent symbol in “Acquaintance with the Night” is the city. The symbolism behind the city is necessary to understand the depth of his loneliness. The speaker roams through this city alone; his only companion is the night sky. In most cities, even at night, the city is not completely empty. His depression is likely the source of his feelings of loneliness. Additionally, the speaker doesn’t seem to want to come out of his depressed state. This becomes clear during his encounter with the watchman: “I have passed by the watchman on his beat and dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain” (5-6). This encounter shows that he is not alone however his reaction shows his unwillingness to find human companionship and inability to connect to another person emotionally. It seems that he has accepted the fact that he is alone in the city and will always be alone. He avoided contact with the man so that he wouldn’t have to talk about how he feels. He has separated himself from the world around him and has allowed himself to melt into the solitary confinement of his depression. In addition to the prominent symbols, “darkness and light” and “the city”, Frost uses other symbolism to better convey the character’s feelings in his darkest hour. In the first stanza, the speaker mentions “rain”. Rain is used to represent themes such as rebirth and renewal; however, coupled with the darkness, it is likely used in this poem to represent sorrow. The line from stanza one, “I have walked out in rain—and back in rain” (2), suggests that the character is unable to escape his deep depression; he