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Analysis and comments on Acquainted With the Night by Robert Frost

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Comment 47 of 447, added on May 14th, 2007 at 1:17 AM.

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 symbolic meanings give his readers a deeper understanding of his works.
In his poem, “Acquainted with the Night.” Frost uses symbolism and rhythm
skims, Frost conveys a lonesome feeling of isolation through the speaker,
who has done some thing awful in his life and is ashamed of it. Regardless
of his wrong doing, he still has hope that he can over come his dark side.

‘Night’ in many poems is a symbol for death. However night in Frost’s poem
“Acquainted with the Night” bought itself to many different interpretations
that may change the entire poem’s deeper meaning. For example the literal
meaning for night is the period of darkness between sunset and sunrise. So
if the reader sees night in the poem as just the actual definition he will
not truly understand the poem because he will wonder why the speaker keeps
saying “I have been one acquainted with the night.” Acquainted means
(Informed or familiar), so in that sense every one in the world is
acquainted with actual, physical night. So the reader knows that night must
have a more profound symbolic meaning.
Night here can serve as a metaphor for the speaker’s depression, Depression
that he most likely is ashamed of because the speaker in the poem says, “I
have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to
explain (Kyoko, Amano).” when he says, “I have looked down the saddest city
lane.” He is probable looking back at a time when his depression was the
worst it had ever been (Lauren). Another indication of depression occurs
when the speaker says, “I have outwalked the furthest city light.” Since in
most poems light is symbolic for hope and night in this poem is symbolic
for depression. Than the conclusion is that the speaker has gone so deep in
to his depression that he can no longer see hope or a way out and so he is
acquainted with the night.
Depression is not the only meaning night can have in this poem, however.
Night may also represent the concept of the unexplored area of inner
knowledge that every one has within (Kyoko). Since the speaker is
acquainted with the night, he knows his darker inner self and for that he
is truly unique, but he is also ashamed. “I have passed by the watchman on
his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.” The watchman’s purpose
in the poem is to enforce regularity of the people traveling the roads
(Macomb). In other words he makes individuals take the road more traveled,
Such as in frost poem “the road not taken” where there are two roads. One
road is the road more traveled which is a symbol for conformity. The other
road is the less traveled one and it symbolizes the uniqueness of an
individual. So the speaker is ashamed to look at the watchman because of
his inner darkness and is unwilling to explain to him why he is not taking
the road more traveled. His unwillingness to explain is the reason for his
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
(Teresa). 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 (Lauren).
If the speaker in the poem is a female than the role of the moon takes on a
more imperative meaning (Ashley). The moon could be the time of the month
that a woman may or may not obtain pregnancy. The moon for a woman may
symbolize a hope that she will get pregnant, but the only way this could be
is if night symbolizes a woman’s fear of loneliness and isolation in
society if she does not achieve pregnancy. If the speaker is a woman than
the phase “I have been one acquainted with the night.” means she has tried
many times to get pregnant. However she has failed and is familiar with the
night that in the sense she knows how it feels to be isolated due to the
fact that she can not get pregnant. In many poems rain symbolizes birth or
a new begging, however rain in this poem is symbolic for pregnancy the
phase “I have walked out in rain-and back in rain.” Means that she has been
paginate numerous times before but something happened such as a
miscarriage. The “saddest city lane” is a time in which she had a
miscarriage or a lose of a child at birth. “I have looked down the saddest
city lane.” “I have passed by the watchman on his beat and dropped my eyes,
unwilling to explain.” The reason why the speaker dropped her eyes in the
face of the watchman is because she feels that it’s her fault that she lost
a child due to a miscarriage. She is keeping all the pain inside and is
putting herself deeper in to isolation. The “cry” symbolizes some body
trying to reach out to her and help with her emotional distress. “One
luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor
right.” symbolizes a longing for something which may never come such as the
feeling that it is not her fault for the lose of her child. The time being
neither wrong nor right could also symbolize that it may have not been the
right time for her to have a child, but it wasn't the wrong time either its
no ones fault.

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. 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 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. Since the poem goes in a full circle it is symbolic for the phases
of depression. For example when an individual gets depression and over
comes it, most of the time the depression resurfaces just like the poem
does in returning to the begging.

Frost‘s use of investing things with symbolism such as the night and the
luminary clock is a masterful work of literature due to the fact that there
are so many different meanings they can represent and hold true to. Also
his rhythm sekm make his poem “acquainted with the night” have a deeper
meaneing than just if he used symbolizem because the waitchman’s job can be
felt subcanitolsly all the way thourgh the poem.

josh from United States
Comment 46 of 447, added on April 23rd, 2007 at 4:05 PM.

I am writing about this for school, which is kind of taking the fun out of
it for me. It is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous and descriptive
poems I have ever read. I have suffered so much with depression, and the
poem really describes it for me. I need some help with a few lines of it,
and if you are willing to do that I would really appreciate it. Just write
a comment after mine saying you are willing and I will email you and tell
you the questions. I hope no one gets mad that I am asking for help or
anything. thanks!

Jeannie from United States
Comment 45 of 447, added on April 4th, 2007 at 12:32 AM.

this poem is amazing. The author is showing some lonliness and depression
when writing this one.

Melinda Loeak from Micronesia
Comment 44 of 447, added on January 24th, 2007 at 9:31 PM.

The poem makes me think of memories and maybe regret. Also experiences, or
maybe even wanting something or wanting to be at a specific point in your
life. being accustomed to lonliness and loss, but able to overcome it. Time
is a powerful thing but you keep going.

Misti from United States
Comment 43 of 447, added on May 10th, 2006 at 10:36 PM.

This poem i think is about all the hard times that robert frost has been
through in his life. For example he had lost 4 out of 6 children and he had
many illnesses during his lifetime... one i think is cancer, and his
worsening eyesight.

Alice from United States
Comment 42 of 447, added on April 29th, 2006 at 1:25 AM.

My interpretation: This poem is a terza rima about how it feels to be
homeless, the abandonment and loneliness that accompanies such a fate.

MonkBoughtLunch from Canada
Comment 41 of 447, added on April 16th, 2006 at 12:35 PM.

Sorry Becky. I see now that my post was actually supposed to be for Sam.
Also sorry Sam.

Renee from United States
Comment 40 of 447, added on April 12th, 2006 at 6:34 PM.

This poem could also be about Batman.

Becky from United States
Comment 39 of 447, added on April 9th, 2006 at 6:05 PM.

Hi, im doing an assignment and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what
the "luminary clock" really means. I know that it is talking about the moon
but what is it saying about the moon? Is it saying that he is looking to
the moon as his means of telling time? OR IS THE MOON THE "CLOCK" IN HIS

Comment 38 of 447, added on March 28th, 2006 at 10:36 PM.

I love this poem - I'm doing an analysis on it for school, and it has so
many meanings! I think it is a great poem, and Frost wrote it so that it
purposely had many different meanings, having a unique meaning to each
person - everyone can relate to it in a different way.

Sara 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: 941 times
Poem of the Day: May 16 2003

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