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Robert Frost's Poetry - Book Report/Review Example

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Robert Frost's Poetry

The implication here is, and as clearly evidenced in his sonnet "Acquainted with the Night," that Frost's poems have a subjective emotional impact upon the readers as the way in which they expose the poet's own innermost feelings arouse both empathy and sympathy.
"Acquainted with the Night" is comprised of fifteen complete sentences, divided into four stanzas and a concluding rhyming couplet. Each stanza consists of three lines, in the A-B-A rhyming pattern, with the exception of the first which follows the A-A-B rhyming scheme. The phrase "I have" dominates the first three stanzas. It begins all three sentences in the first, two in the second and one in the third. It is interesting to note here that there is a reversal of order in that the quoted phrase is present once in the third stanza but three times in the first. What this indicates, according to the literary scholar, Sheldon Liebman, is a descent into both acceptance and the night atmosphere (pp. 419-420). That means to say, the fading of the refrain implies both that, by the third stanza, the embrace (not just acquaintance) of the night is so complete and so obvious that it needs no verbal reiteration and that the poet has accepted the night.
The sonnet commences with the repetition of the title, serving to emphasize both theme and mood. The mood, as may be deduced from the title and this first line is that of total, although accepting, loneliness. The theme is man's aloneness; his isolation from his fellow man and his urban surroundings. It is, thus, that as Shurr (p. 589) notes, the narrator "outwalked the furthest city light," seeking to escape the urban jungle, so to say.
That this poem is about one city dweller's overwhelming desire to return to nature and his persistent inability to form a connection with either the city or those who reside within it, is amply evidenced in the first two stanzas. In the first, the narrator "walked out in the rain." This serves to establish the narrator as distinct from the majority who would walk in from the rain and seek shelter from it. It further establishes the extent to which the narrator feels at home with, and in, nature. The rain, insofar as it is one of nature's many manifestations, is something which he seeks and does not shy away from. Indeed, as evidenced in the second stanza, it is the city which he shoes away from. Hence, as far as he is concerned, the city is a sad place; a place he is unable to connect with or relate to any living within it. Consequently, rather than feel companionship with the night watchman, one of the few people out in the night and out in the rain like him, he avoids him, unwilling even to meet his eyes.
The fact that the poet is unwilling to meet the watchman's eyes is indicative of his reluctance to relate to, and communicate with others. He wants to be alone in the night and, quite possibly, wants to be subsumed by its darkness. Therefore, when he comes across the watchman, he "dropped" his eyes "unwilling to explain." In dropping his eyes, he is signaling his reluctance to bond with his fellow men, however temporarily. By admitting that he was not willing to explain, he both confirms his reluctance to bond and concedes to the probability of his explanations being unsatisfactory. In other words, he knows that few will understand why any would willingly walk in the night ...Show more

Summary

Robert Frost (1874-1963), the twentieth century American poet, is not only one of the country's most popular poets but one of its most honored. Not only is he the most frequently quoted poet in the United States but at the inauguration of President Kennedy in 1961, recited one of his poems as part of the ceremony (Thompson, pp…
Author : nathandietrich
Robert Frosts Poetry essay example
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