Essay on Man in the Crowd

Words: 1055
Pages: 5

The epigraph at the beginning of “The Man in the Crowd” brings up the interesting question of what it really means to be alone. While the actual definition of alone is “quite by oneself, unaccompanied, solitary,” (“Alone”) the story, through the narrator’s thoughts and the observations of the nameless man in the crowd, can serve as a different perspective on being alone if applied beyond the situation in the tale. The epigraph says how terrible it is to never be alone, and the story serves as a metaphor for Poe to comment on how he views someone’s ability to actually be apart from the crowd. The story goes to show how social norms, thoughts of others, and inherent desires limit someone from ever being truly alone. Poe seems to believe that …show more content…
The narrator’s feelings towards the crowd and the man’s anxiety when he is not within a crowd represent the need the narrator has to be a part of it. The narrator having been sick for a few months is craving the sight of others and is filled with “a delicious novelty of emotion” (Poe, 233) when he sees the crowd. The narrator’s joy at seeing others shows his unspoken desire to be a part of the outside world. He is drawn into the crowd because of the innate wish to be involved with others and his natural curiosity for them. The feeling of being together with others gives him a sense of belonging a purpose. The narrator says that the man “with every mark of agitation, pursues rapidly a route which brought (them) to the verge of the city” (Poe, 238) because “he refuses to be alone” (Poe, 239). The man wants to be surrounded by people and shows visibly that it is upsetting to not be so. Poe could be using the man’s agitation as a symbol of how the narrator subconsciously feels about the crowd. The mysterious man represents how the narrator desires to be with others and feel a sense of belonging to the crowd. Poe’s definition of being alone in the story, if applied in more general terms, seems to be if a person can actually separate from others in society. From the narrator and his pursuit of the mysterious man, it can be concluded that Poe does not believe that the separation is possible. It is the thoughts of others and the influences of actions that make it