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Analysis and comments on Acquainted With the Night by Robert Frost

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Comment 33 of 453, added on February 12th, 2006 at 8:50 PM.

wow... this poem has so many meanings, literally, and symbolically.
obviously, the speaker, robert frost, is trying to get away from somthing
or is looking back at the hard times in his life. he says that he has been
in and out of the rain which could mean he has been in and out of problems
in his life. he has outwalked the furthest city light, which means he has
gone so far in his problems, he has reached just a terrorizing point in
life at sometime. he has had his sad times and has been looked down upon
by others which we see in the 2nd stanza. He has been aware of the time
and how he does not have a lot of it, I think he means that we shouldnt
waist things like what he is writing about because we dont hvae a whole lot
of time. In the end of the time, he says that time shouldnt matter. We
need to stop the bad things going on in our life and not let them affect
us. Most people think that frost is writing about death, but i just dont
see it. does anyone else feel like he is not talking about death?

Comment 32 of 453, added on January 18th, 2006 at 6:37 PM.

I think this poem means that the narrator of this poem has gone through an
expoeriance where he almost died, whether literally or what dying means to
him. I got that idea from the last three sentences. " One luminary clock
against the sky proclaimes the time was nether wrong nor right. I also got
the idea from the sentence "I have passed by the watchman on his beat and
dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain."
I'm not sure if my interpertation is correct or close because everyone has
different points of view,but please e-mail me and give me your thoughts.

Sandy from United States
Comment 31 of 453, added on January 12th, 2006 at 5:40 PM.

Borges in an intimate interview with Gloria Lopez Lecube replied "I would
choose Acqainted with the night.

Jorge Luis Borges was a poet and blind at the time of the interview.

Leonard from United States
Comment 30 of 453, added on December 21st, 2005 at 11:16 PM.

I read this poem because my friend was analyzing it for lit. I said as a
joke that the speaker was a vampire. I think that although it is obviously
not a vampire, you get the same sense of lonliness and isolation as you
would as some characterizations of a vampire. I personally thought it made
sense, like the "luminary clock" was the moon, since vampires can't tell
time by the sun, they would by the moon... Anyway, I just thought I'd throw
that out there.

Kate from United States
Comment 29 of 453, 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

Alex from United States
Comment 28 of 453, 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

Jack from United States
Comment 27 of 453, 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

Nakaashi from India
Comment 26 of 453, 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 453, 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 453, 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
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

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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: 1084 times
Poem of the Day: May 16 2003

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