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Analysis and comments on Acquainted With the Night by Robert Frost

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Comment 29 of 399, added on December 21st, 2005 at 12:12 PM.

"Acquainted with the Night" evokes a very American mood of isolation in an
urban setting, something Edward Hopper portrays very well in his paintings.
This brings back very pleasant emotions and memories of my solitary walks
around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx when I was a kid and later on in
life.

Alex from United States
Comment 28 of 399, added on December 21st, 2005 at 8:39 AM.

The passion of the poem comes from the desire to hide the secrets of life,
and the desire to expose to the light of day the secret desires of the
soul. While the symbolism of clocks (time) and watchmen (god) clearly
indicates that there are no "real" secrets, the attempt to keep hidden
those things we feel shame over, keeps us all well acquainted with the
night.

Jack from United States
Comment 27 of 399, added on December 20th, 2005 at 4:11 PM.

I rather think that this person here has done a lot of things during the
night and that is why he is acquainted with it. Analyzing the whole poem
makes me think that he was going away from home, and has all these gloomy
thoughts about the night he did so. He is not able to explain to the
watchman what he is doing and passes by him without a word. Then a while
later, screams are heard from a lane behind from perhaps where he was
coming. His family members realized that he left them. Or yet it could be
that he died. And when he says, 'further still at an unearthly height, one
luminary clock against the sky.' That could just be that he is a star
looking down on all of them. He says this time was neither wrong or right
but it happened during the night,therefore, he is one acquainted with the
night.

Nakaashi from India
Comment 26 of 399, added on December 11th, 2005 at 11:44 PM.

I find so easy to relate to Robert Frost. In many of his poems when he
talks about death and being lonely i can relate to that.

Willie Jones from United States
Comment 25 of 399, added on December 11th, 2005 at 11:44 PM.

I think this poem is about his sad life. This is why Robert talks about the
saddest lane and walking far far away from the light.

Mike Williams from United States
Comment 24 of 399, added on December 11th, 2005 at 5:38 PM.

In Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night”, the speaker can be any one
of a number of people. To define the speaker generally, the speaker is
someone who has a story to tell, and is proud of that story. This story
holds so much importance for them that if they were dying and were able to
have only one more conversation they would talk about how they had become
“acquainted with the night”. This story describes such a personally
meaningful journey, that it becomes more than just a tale; it becomes a
legacy. The listener could be anybody who had inquired about the story that
the speaker has to tell. I like to entertain the idea that this poem is a
long-lost uncle’s narrative to his nephew upon their first meeting. The
uncle feels that this story gives his nephew an accurate impression of who
he is, of where he has been, and what he may try to do next.
The meaning that I obtained after reading “Acquainted with the Night” is
that it is important to recognize the value of non-conformity. Great
gratification can be obtained by reducing intellectual and emotional input
until you arrive at the stillness of your soul.
The imagery in “Acquainted with the Night” is peculiar in that most of its
sensory details are presented through the sense of hearing. The “Sound of
feet” and an “interrupted cry” through the darkness are the two most vivid
images in the poem. This lack of visual details makes the reader feel that
they are either blind, or cloaked in complete darkness. Most of the vivid
visual details are implied. The only concrete visual detail is when the
reader is presented with the image of the “luminary clock against the sky”.
Since the clock is the only thing that is explicitly seen, it takes on a
startling importance. The idea of the “time” being “neither wrong nor
right” in the poem can be taken to reflect Frost’s perception of waiting
for something in his life, longing for something which may never come.
The fact that throughout the poem the speaker is essentially alone gives
the symbolism a new spin. From the author’s loneliness it appears that he
is on the ‘road less traveled’. Thus, the “saddest city lane” that he
looks down could be interpreted as the road more traveled. The watchman in
the speaker’s path intimidates him, because the speaker “dropped his eyes,
unwilling to explain”. If the speaker even thought that an explanation
would have been necessary, we can imply that the watchman was blatantly not
of the same mind as the speaker. The sole purpose of a watchman on the
path of the unique would be to encourage the unique to return to the road
more traveled. The watchman epitomizes “The Man” of the punk rock
counterculture because of his position of power. Loneliness itself comes
to be symbolized by the night into which the narrator walks.
The rhythm of “Acquainted with the Night” is extremely steady. The entire
poem is in perfect iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme serves to draw the
poem together as a whole. The first stanza rhymes in an A, B, A pattern.
The next stanza rhymes B, C, and B. The rhyme of the first and last lines
of the next stanza is introduced in the second line of the preceding
stanza. This gives the poem a feeling of smooth continuity. This pattern
continues until the very last stanza, which is a couplet that returns to
the first (A) rhyme. This repetition of the initial rhyme draws the
reader’s attention back to the beginning, bringing the poem full circle.
Another aspect of the poem that adds to its smoothness is the nearly
perfect iambic pentameter that it is written in. Since the purpose of a
watchman is to enforce regularity, the dominance of the watchman’s power is
shown through the smoothness and regularity of this poem.
This poem could belong to the musical genre of punk rock. One of major
aspects of the punk counterculture group, non-conformity, is one of the
themes expressed in this poem. The reference to “The Man” (in the form of
a watchman) in the second stanza reflects another counterculture ideal:
unwillingness to explain, or opposing the authorities who suppress
individualism.
When I first read this poem the only emotion that I felt was loneliness.
However, when I read this poem for a second time I was able to pick out a
few more emotions that the author expressed. The dominant emotion when I
read this poem for the second time was pride in solitude. The author’s
tone which I perceived, had changed from one of near-shame to one of pride
in his accomplishments. When the narrator talks about the voice that
calls out to him, “but not to call me back or say good-bye”, the author
seems nonchalant and defiant in the second reading. Frost conveys the
feeling that the speaker neither wants nor needs the person to which the
voice belonged. I think the speaker simply needed time alone in which to
relax and enjoy the sense of peace in solitude that the night can bring.
He walked out alone not knowing what he was seeking… and found himself.



chris mccomb
Comment 23 of 399, added on December 5th, 2005 at 5:59 PM.

This poem is amazing.I had to analyse it for school. Usually im really bad
with poems. But this one was much easier to understand. It made me feel so
sad.

Simmi from Canada
Comment 22 of 399, added on December 1st, 2005 at 9:24 PM.

This poem has the slow feeling to it, almost a calming one. If you could
close your eyes and picture where the man is standing, walking.. what would
it look like?.. Very interesting poem, seeing how there are lots of
homeless people in the world, and noone stops to care about what they have
experienced or think!

Nikki from Canada
Comment 21 of 399, added on November 28th, 2005 at 2:35 PM.

i think the title aquainted with the night is ironic to a certain degree.
The reason for this is because the literal meaning of the word aquainted is
when you know something vaguely. When you are aquainted to someone you know
only superficial information about them. I believe Frost meant this to be
ironic because after reading the poem one can note that he knows the night
profoundly, and not just superficially.

Andrea from Brazil
Comment 20 of 399, added on November 16th, 2005 at 8:41 PM.

I can definately relate to this poem.
Frost uses the night to describe our(humanity) troubles we endure." I have
walked out in rain- and back in rain," means the speaker has dealt with
problems and survived them. Frost's repetative use of "I" emphasizes the
loneliness he feels, the solitude with how he must go through this alone.
The "watchman" seems to be a metaphor for God, the person who he is ashamed
to admit his wrong- doings, "and dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain." I
think he might have even contemplated suicide," I have stood still and
stopped the sound of feet" but unsure of it is the right thing to do.
Believing someone might care "and interrupted cry" changes his mind but
realizes again that he is back to where he began, alone in the dark with no
one to help him. No hope. Even the "luminary clock" which is suposed to
give LIGHT to all beneath it to find their way "proclaimed the time was
neither wrong nor right." Again alnoe in the dark,and once more "I have
been one acquainted with the night."
I can relate.

Teresa from United States

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Information about Acquainted With the Night

Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: 21. Acquainted With the Night
Volume: West-Running Brook
Year: 1928
Added: Feb 1 2004
Viewed: 67868 times
Poem of the Day: May 16 2003


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