Robert Frost: Alone In The Dark Essay, Research Paper
Alone in the dark
Robert Frost was indeed one of the most important and influential writers in the history of American Literature. His unique style and incredible use of imageries give his readers a deep understanding of his works. In his poem, “Acquainted with the Night”, by using a smooth and static rhythm, bleak and dreary imageries, unique diction, and well-thought syntax of sentences, Frost conveys a feeling of lonesome and isolation.
The poem’s beat is very calm and is in perfect iambic pentameter, which creates a nice and easy flow throughout the poem, giving the reader a sense of solitude. The rhyming scheme of the poem is in a form called a terza rhima, a rhyming effect usually achieved with extreme difficulty, but Frost did it with sheer genius, allowing the reader to more easily read the poem by identifying one line with another. This arrangement of rhymes further emphasizes the peaceful sound of the poem. In line ten, the author changes the spelling of the word goodbye to “good-by”, reasons being that one, to rhyme with the latter line, two to highlight the syllable “by”, which is a stressed sound of this line. By emphasizing this word, Frost again indicate the situation of being left alone, being discarded into the dark city, whether it is by a person, or by society.
Frost’s use of vivid imageries expresses his feeling of puzzlement, lonesomeness, and isolation. In line two, by using the indication of rain, it gives the reader a feel of the bleak, dark environment. Lines such as “I have walked the furthest city light” and “I have looked down the saddest city lane” give the reader a vivid image of the endless dark avenue, the dying streetlight, and the lonely walk in an unfamiliar town (3,4). By presenting the night watchman, the reader can connect him with the character of the night watchman, who stands as the symbol of seclusion. Later on in the poem, he leads the readers to imagine not only an image, but also a sound, “When far away an interrupted cry.” This sound further emphasizes the situation he is in, when the author states, “But not to call me back or say good-by,” which indicated that the sound was not meant for him (8,10). Through this sound imagery, the reader can infer the feeling of disappointment and rejection the author feels as he strode down the strange city.
What adds to Frost’s style of vivid imagery even more is his diction. He chooses words that are strong enough create a lively picture, but yet still soft to fit the mellow flow of the poem. In line twelve, his use of the word “luminary” strikes the reader’s mind with its sound (onomatopoeia), which brings the picture of the moon in front of the reader. Using line eleven, he states his feeling of desperation and hopelessness, in which he describes the moon as “at an unearthly height”, meaning that hope is unreachable, and loneliness is unavoidable. While seeing the moon, the only light and hope of the city, the author conveys his mixed feelings of right or wrong.
Frost uses the method of repetition to further cross his point presented to the reader. First, by using “I have” as the beginning of each sentence for lines one through five, seven and fourteen, he strikes the point of his own acquaintance, conveying a more personal feeling, allowing the reader to relate and place his/herself into the situation as the loner in the dark world. Then, in line 2, he uses the word rain twice to create and embellish the dark and bleak environment as the setting. Finally, his usage of the line “I have been one acquainted with the night” in both the first line and the last line, serves two purposes. As an opening, the sentence leads the reader to predict the context, to wonder what he is about to tell them about his acquaintance with the night. As a closing, this same sentence serves to conclude his sadness, and to end his story with the audience, as if they were watching.
This poem’s gloomy and miserable tone intends to express the feeling of seclusion that everyone feels. Whether a stranger in the city, or a loner in the town, Frost’s intention is for the poem to connect to every reader’s heart. His utilization of visual imagery, diction, syntax, and a nice flowing rhyme and meter allows the readers to connect more easily, and to understand the poem more readily.