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Analysis and comments on Acquainted With the Night by Robert Frost

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Comment 12 of 402, added on June 24th, 2005 at 1:39 AM.

I think that the speaker here does not like city life. The line 'I have
walked out in rain -- and back in rain' gives the effect of a pendulum
swinging back and forth and this is supposed to mean that city life is a
routine, perhaps boring or meaningless.

The words 'looked down the saddest city lane' and 'passed by the watchman'
implies that city life is just about 'passing by'; that the speaker is
always just a 'passer by'. The watchman 'on his beat' also emphasises the
pendulum's back-and-forth movement. Also, the speaker is awkward around
other people 'dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain'. This is like our
lives - when we get into an elevator with a stranger, do we talk to
him/her? Or do we just smile and look down at the floor, sensing a strange
awkwardness between the two of you? (I don't know about you, but for me it
is the latter.) It is this lack of communication between people in the city
which the speaker does not enjoy.

The 'interrupted cry' is disturbing to the speaker - why would someone cry
out? Yet he does not stop to wonder or worry about what is happening - he
just moves on. ('passing by') 'But not to call me back or say good-bye' -
this is related to the earlier sentence where the speaker does not stop to
worry about the person - the person does not care about the speaker; he
does not cry for him. I think here the speaker is trying to show that the
people in the city do not show concern for each other, preferring to just
'pass by' silently.

'Further still' further emphasises the distance between people, and the 2
'one's in the poem also show that people's lives are solitary. The speaker
could be appealing to the luminosity of the "clock" (or moon) - which could
represent hope in darkness - and its symbolic wisdom for answers.

It is ironical that the "clock", which is supposed to tell time, could not
tell whether the time "was ... wrong or right". The fact that this
uncertainty was 'proclaimed' was ironical too, as 'to proclaim' is to
announce with confidence.

Hannah from Singapore
Comment 11 of 402, added on June 23rd, 2005 at 9:19 PM.

this is a thief!! i like the poem

tiffie from Singapore
Comment 10 of 402, added on May 31st, 2005 at 5:23 PM.

I think that the theme in this poem is that Frost is recounting his
experiences in the First World War if he was even involved; the mention of
the watchman (military suggestion), being outside the furthest city lights
(in the trenches), and being unwilling to explain (to the night watchman)
all suggests to me that he is trying to explain and escape his memories of
WW1. Tell me if I'm wrong, please!

Kelly from United Kingdom
Comment 9 of 402, added on May 22nd, 2005 at 6:18 PM.

The definition of luminary: An object, such as a celestial body, that
gives light. It could be the actual clock in Amherst, but I have a feeling
Frost was talking about the moon. It is a beautiful poem. I usually don't
like poems with rhyme schemes, because they often sound forced, but I
didn't even notice it in this poem until it was pointed out. Beautiful.

Ben from United States
Comment 8 of 402, added on May 5th, 2005 at 5:28 PM.

i think this poem means he been so much and in and out in pain. that deep
dude peace out...

Alejandra quintero from United States
Comment 7 of 402, added on March 31st, 2005 at 5:02 PM.

I think this poem is Great! It's my favorite porm right above "The Road Not

Comment 6 of 402, added on January 30th, 2005 at 11:22 AM.

It seems to me that Frost is trying to use distance in this poem. "I have
OUTWALKED the FURTHEST city light," "I have PASSED by the watchman," "When
FURTHER still at an unhearthly HEIGHT." If you look at Frost's other works,
he uses nature as a repeated theme. This poem sounds more urban and
city-like to me. So I think that the narrarater in Frost's poem is trying
to separate himself from this lonely, depressing urban environment and
return to the countryside which he adores.

Sidra Zaidi from United States
Comment 5 of 402, added on January 21st, 2005 at 8:14 AM.

this poem reminds me of my of me pooping

aunt jamima from New Zealand
Comment 4 of 402, added on January 21st, 2005 at 12:54 AM.

The "luminary clock" Neale asked about could possibly be a metaphor for the
moon. It could also mean the sundial you mentioned, but I have my doubts.

Comment 3 of 402, added on January 7th, 2005 at 12:22 AM.

There is a large town clock with a bright illuminated dial on what I
believe is Amherst, MA, city hall at Boltwood and Main. Frost was teaching
at Amherst College in 1928, the date the poem was published. I wonder if
that was the "luminary clock" in the poem. Does anyone know?

Neale Adams from Canada

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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: 68461 times
Poem of the Day: May 16 2003

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