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Acquainted With The Night Analysis



Author: Poetry of Robert Frost Type: Poetry Views: 28954

West-running Brook1928I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain-and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,But not to call me back or say good-by;

And further still at an unearthly height

One luminary clock against the skyProclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

I have been one acquainted with the night.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

The point of Robert Frost's poems is that he wanted them to appear simple on the surface (in this case, it's as if he is just taking a night walk through London). Another reason he wrote poetry is that he liked that they could be left open for interpretation. Although he most likely wrote this thinking about a time in his own life, everyone will interpret this poem differently depending on their own life experiences and influences etc. That's the beauty of Frost's poetry.
So all of you attacking each other on here saying your own theory is right. well maybe it is to you, but it's okay for others to interpret it differently,there isn't one correct or exact meaning or story behind this poem.

| Posted on 2014-03-19 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem captures the melancholy isolation of the narrator in an urbanized setting, as opposed to the more - typical rural settings of Frost\'s poems. It is like the night is a whole separate world with a different time, and the narrator is so engrossed and entwined in this desolate world - this introverted way of life - that he cannot withdraw from it, and become part of \'day\'s\' society. Fantastic poem as usual, Mr. Frost.

| Posted on 2012-12-14 | by a guest


.: :.

From someone who walks in the night and who has loved this poem for years and is just now returning from a night walk in London, I think you are all putting way too much analysis on this. It actually describes perfectly the beauty of walking at night in London. The remorse, the calm, the clock (Parliament). I always liked to make the clock the moon, but Big Ben, lit against the midnight blue sky, works so well. It\'s an amazingly emotional scene and if I were a poet and not a novelist, I would try to capture the moment just as Frost did. Only I would do it much worse. He\'s captured a perfect moment in the human condition. Or, I could be wrong.

| Posted on 2012-04-29 | by a guest


.: :.

As we can tell, there have been a great number of varied interpretations of this poem. There is nothing wrong in that. This is what makes Frost’s poetry so beautiful, the unknown that brings us deeper into the words, stimulating our minds. I don’t think that Frost’s original thoughts are vital to know, what matters is our interpretation, the way we interact with it.

| Posted on 2011-11-28 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this poem is about Frost\'s attraction to the unorthodox ways of writing poems versus the traditional. He walks in the night (night meaning the unusual) passed the furthest city light (the city light meaning the traditional) and \"drops his head unwilling to explain\" to the \"watchman on his beat\" meaning he\'s afraid of what his readers might think about the unorthodox way of writing poems.He looks to the \"luminary clock\" but it\'s no help since it doesn\'t \"claim that the time is either wrong nor right\" meaning that the time to introduce this way of poem writing to the public.

| Posted on 2011-05-25 | by a guest


.: :.

THE FACTS, this is what i found under \'personal life\' when i searched robert frost on wikipedia:
Robert Frost\'s personal life was plagued with grief and loss. In 1885 when Frost was 11, his father died of tuberculosis, leaving the family with just eight dollars. Frost\'s mother died of cancer in 1900. In 1920, Frost had to commit his younger sister Jeanie to a mental hospital, where she died nine years later. Mental illness apparently ran in Frost\'s family, as both he and his mother suffered from depression, and his daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in 1947. Frost\'s wife, Elinor, also experienced bouts of depression.
Elinor and Robert Frost had six children: son Elliot (1896–1904, died of cholera); daughter Lesley Frost Ballantine (1899–1983); son Carol (1902–1940, committed suicide); daughter Irma (1903–1967); daughter Marjorie (1905–1934, died as a result of puerperal fever after childbirth); and daughter Elinor Bettina (died just three days after her birth in 1907). Only Lesley and Irma outlived their father. Frost\'s wife, who had heart problems throughout her life, developed breast cancer in 1937, and died of heart failure in 1938.
my conclusion is that he is the speaker of this poem and it is about his deprssion and maybe him contemplating whether to commit suicide or not.

| Posted on 2011-01-13 | by a guest


.: :.

THE FACTS, this is what i found under \'personal life\' when i searched robert frost on wikipedia:
Robert Frost\'s personal life was plagued with grief and loss. In 1885 when Frost was 11, his father died of tuberculosis, leaving the family with just eight dollars. Frost\'s mother died of cancer in 1900. In 1920, Frost had to commit his younger sister Jeanie to a mental hospital, where she died nine years later. Mental illness apparently ran in Frost\'s family, as both he and his mother suffered from depression, and his daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in 1947. Frost\'s wife, Elinor, also experienced bouts of depression.
Elinor and Robert Frost had six children: son Elliot (1896–1904, died of cholera); daughter Lesley Frost Ballantine (1899–1983); son Carol (1902–1940, committed suicide); daughter Irma (1903–1967); daughter Marjorie (1905–1934, died as a result of puerperal fever after childbirth); and daughter Elinor Bettina (died just three days after her birth in 1907). Only Lesley and Irma outlived their father. Frost\'s wife, who had heart problems throughout her life, developed breast cancer in 1937, and died of heart failure in 1938.
my conclusion is that he is the speaker of this poem and it is about his deprssion and maybe him contemplating whether to commit suicide or not.

| Posted on 2011-01-13 | by a guest


.: :.

hello ladies. looks at your man now back at me, now back at your man, now back at me. unfortunately, he isn\'t me. but if he used old spice body wash he could smell like me. look down, back up. i have tickets to that thing you love. look away, back to me. the tickets are now diamonds!!!!

| Posted on 2011-01-10 | by a guest


.: :.

Alright sooo umm, yeah the guy that said this CANT be about suicide, you are very wrong. You cant just say the poem and the poet go hand in hand. Frost wrote about so many things, do you really think he experienced all of them? No. Frost wanted to reach out to all different kinds of people, and this is how he did it. So dont just rule that out buddy.

| Posted on 2010-11-18 | by a guest


.: :.

if there is somebody actaully checking this, dont add it to the comments

| Posted on 2010-10-20 | by a guest


.: :.

this is a good and depressing poem. although there is something i saw. one the line \"one luminary clock against the sky\" on other websites sometimes has one replaced a or o or maybe the could somebody tell me what is the right word?

| Posted on 2010-10-20 | by a guest


.: :.

i reckon hes pretyy cool as robert frost is obviously and over powered Boomkin in lunar eclipse proc on spamming moonfire cannon
He is so tank

| Posted on 2010-10-14 | by a guest


.: :.

As someone who has been acquainted with the night myself, it seems absolutely clear to me that the whole thing is an analogy/metaphor for contemplating suicide. Too many of the metaphors ring true. Also, there are very VERY few artists who have not felt such levels of despair. Depression is an occupational hazard for writers, it seems. One of the above posters said it isn\'t a poem about suicide as he did not commit suicide. I shake my head at the logic of that statement!

| Posted on 2010-09-21 | by a guest


.: :.

i think he feels guilty about raping a woman down a lane

| Posted on 2010-09-19 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is in the Hebrew Union Prayer Book under the heading of ( and I think appropriately ) " Lonliness ".

| Posted on 2010-06-18 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is good. idk why anyone wouldn't like it. There is nothing wrong with it. Its not like stupid love stuff it is nice and deppresing.And whoever wrote about the 2nd and the 3rd line not with the 4th line or what evr they were tring to say didnt make any sense!and wat the heck is a "dante" (nerd)

| Posted on 2010-06-07 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is not about suicide, Robert Frost did not commit suicide. The poem was most likely in reference to his time spent in London. After failing to be noticed in America early in his career, he moved to London to start a new. Although perhaps upset, he was not suicidal, he was with his family, and did well for himself there. The poem is most likely a reflection of his feelings of while first being there and feeling lost confused and saddened. The images in this poem are also relevant to London such as the clock (Big Ben can be seen in many locations high above the skyline there.

| Posted on 2010-05-23 | by a guest


.: :.

I think the guy was just talking about takingawalkn the dead of late night and seeing the beauty and mystery of the niht. The luminary clock was the moon, an interrupted cry was a distubance in the silence, and not wanting to explain to the watchman is being absorbedi yourself and not wanting to exchange pleasantries like you would in the daytime. Is it depressing? Yes! One of the reasons i love this poem!

| Posted on 2010-05-07 | by a guest


.: :.

Robert frost is a crazy mothaF****.what kind of poem is this are you serious a person becomes famous for writing his crazy ideas and people analyze this sh*t plz why dont you just ask the guy wow.

| Posted on 2010-04-30 | by a guest


.: :.

I was greatly disappointed to see the poem's structure mangled. it was meant to have 4 sets of 3 lines followed by ending 2 lines. Then it is easy to see that the 2nd line of each 3 line set rhymes with the 1st & 3rd line of next 4 lines. i understand this structure started with Dante.
this doesn't change the meaning but it enhances the b eauty of the poem

| Posted on 2010-04-19 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is not about love. Whoever wrote that is an idiot.

| Posted on 2010-04-14 | by a guest


.: :.

What This Is About !
This is a sonnet. Yes it is about isolation, loneliness, and depression, but there can also be another layer and connotation to the depression. "Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right," as well as other lines that explain that the speaker has been "acquainted with the night" aka darkness and death, and that he has experienced the most sadness suggest that he was contemplating suicide. This poem may also seem very simple, yet many words such as "luminary" have double-meanings.

| Posted on 2010-04-10 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is about depression and lonleyness. I think he has done something in the past that he feels guilty about, and thats why the watchman shakes his head.

| Posted on 2010-03-31 | by a guest


.: :.

if this poem were seen a critique of society as how rober frost saw it,"I have outwalked the furthest city light" would be seen as rejection of society despite what good it may hole ( light imager usually means good)
that said "I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain." could also show robert frosts disdain of authority figures that uphold the rulings of society and that having "been one aquainted with the night" represents rober frosts retreat into nature or the a world outside of the city as a reaction to being disillusioned from the promises and falsehoods of city life.
thoughts on this theory are welcome

| Posted on 2010-03-21 | by a guest


.: :.

My class is analyzing a bunch of Frost's poems. As a class what we found in this poem was about suicide. We didn't quite figure out if he did commit suicide or not, but we came to the conclusion that it was a suicide poem. One of my classmates pointed out that the line "When far away an interrupted cry" could somehow be connected to the line "But not to call me back or say good-by" this could indicate that no one cares about this person. We also guessed that the "luminary clock" could be Big Ben, I think it was and that, that was the way he was going to die by jumping off of big ben. I remember reading about Robert Frost's lie and that he had a son who committed suicide in 1940. I believe that this poem could have been about his son. On the other hand, if i remember right, he also attempted suicide, so this could be about him and how he felt thinking about ending his life. There was also the "I have passed by the watchman on his beat, And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain". Ashamed maybe? For being weak maybe? Idk...it's an idea.

| Posted on 2010-03-08 | by a guest


.: :.

I wanna eat robert frost's corpse with ketchup...yumyum

| Posted on 2010-01-21 | by a guest


.: :.

this is a unique poem. robert frost was expressing his inner man to the world in this poem!!@@@!!

| Posted on 2009-12-13 | by a guest


.: :.

Hello every1. My name Jimmy from class 821 at I>S>5. Can some1 help me with the meaning? ANy1 else at 821?

| Posted on 2009-11-29 | by a guest


.: :.

listen here u shitfaces its not about god, because robert frost and his dumbass did not believe in god. its about idk:)

| Posted on 2009-11-27 | by a guest


.: :.

I like the insight of Approved Guest's structural analysis, to build on that I feel that the syntax of the line's below possibly highlight Frost's intention when writing this piece.

'I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,'
I find it interesting that Frost places his reaction before the event of the cry. I feel this demonstrates clearly the outer personification of an inner inexpressionable state. As it has been previously pointed out the line
'Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.'
the figure could be stuck between a state of non existence and existence, what in Japanese is referred to as the state of ku.
Ku can be expressed by an analogy of music. It is impossible to explain the presence the affect music can have on a listener’s emotional state when the actual notes on the page when deconstructed logically don't have the same impact. I am not expressing this very well but I'll leave it for the reader to look into as this is a very complex theory to unravel. I feel it is important to acknowledge this state because it is easy to say that the figure is apathetic or guilty but what exactly are those states. Well the state of guilt is complex with respect to the fact that it is the result of having a feeling about a feeling creating a state of numbness which perpetuates a sense of loneliness. This perpetuating cycle is represented by the cycle of the opening line and closing line.
The event of the cry therefore is an outer personification of pain or guilt and so forth the figure has experienced but that is not to say it hasn't actually happened. It is important to remember we only experience life and it's range of complex states through our experience and understanding of the world outside ourselves which is why I think Frost uses the repetition of 'I have' and not just as a poetic device.
This explanation is somewhat confused I fear but it is my reaction to reading this wonderful piece and everyones comments.

| Posted on 2009-10-25 | by a guest


.: :.

I have enjoyed reading the many insightful comments here. One thing I have always noticed about this poem is that it is written in the past tense. It isn't saying he is speaking from a place of darkness. He is acknowledging that he has been there. I have always felt this poem is ultimately a bit hopeful, a very eloquent acknowledgment that even a long night of darkness and depression had eventually passed.

| Posted on 2009-06-20 | by a guest


.: :.

Sonnents are always about unequated love (love that is not given back-i.e you like someone, they dont like you back) and this is a sonnet- unequated love is the theme.

| Posted on 2009-06-14 | by a guest


.: :.

It is a window for others to see the truth of who they are. You see it as you see it. I believe he felt abond by his father and maybe felt alone. It only takes a few fans to feel your actually talking to someone about your feelings. he is letting us in to have us tell HIM because he is lost walking aimlessly looking for light in the dark

| Posted on 2009-05-19 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is not literally about leaving and returning to a city - Frost simply uses it as an allusion to represent his SOUL. He uses the night to describe his soul; his lonliness, depression, isolation, etc. There are some Inferno connections: Frost uses Terza Rima rhyme scheme just like Dante. He also mentions that he has "outwalked the furthest city light", meaning he has gone astray which is similar to Dante's first Canto, talking about leaving the right path.
The repetition of the words "I have" represent the author's flat matter-of-factness (Michael Meyer - Poetry: An Introduction). There is a somber, sad tone. He also uses his title, aquainted with the night, to start and end the poem.
When passing the watchman, Frost says he drops his eyes and is "unwilling to explain". This could represent guilt of doing something wrong, or it could simply mean he wants to be alone and ponder about his sadness. We know he is alone because when he stands still in the next line and "stopped the sound of feet" there is silence.
Then he hears an interrupted cry."but not to call me back or say goodbye". This shows that there is nobody there for him and emphasizes his lonliness.

| Posted on 2008-12-07 | by a guest


.: :.

Robert Frost created "Aquainted with the Night" as a structural illusion to The Inferno. Frost used terza rima, which can be linked directly to Dante's Inferno.
The "luminary clock" represents God, those who are familiar with The Inferno can understand that this is a direct illusion to Dante's God. Though the speaker in "Aquainted with the Night" is only an observer and can only witness the evil- he does not attempt to make the world "right" as in the Inferno.

| Posted on 2008-10-17 | by a guest


.: :.

Just some helpful ideas ...
Frost uses the following literary devices in this poem:
Irony - 1)in urban setting (were lots of ppl live)however the main theme is lonlyness
2) another theme is the speakers sadness, however it was writen in 1928 (right before the depression) when there was extreme prosparity and happyness
Paradox - "the time was neither wrong nor right"
Symbols - night(dark, sad), rain(sadness, bad times, depresion), light(goodness, hope)
Syntax - Frost uses a common syntax (word order) in most of his lines: I have _(verb)
Themes - Lonlyness, sadness, guilt
Tone - sad, apathetic
Imagery - entire poem sets up a picture in the readers mind of the city the speaker is in
Rhyme - Frost uses the rhyme scheme "aba bcb cdc dad aa" this scheme is otherwise known as "terza rima"

Form - this poem is a sonnet
I must complament the brilient analasys on this page!

| Posted on 2008-05-28 | by a guest


.: meaning :.

There seem to be many different interpretations of this poem, but why can't it be taken literally? I may not be getting the right experience from this poem, but personally I feel like I relate to it a lot. At one time or another I have experienced everything in this poem just through walking around at night by myself. I simply assumed upon first reading of this poem that it was about just that.

| Posted on 2008-04-22 | by a guest


.: dude. im ovbiously human :.

Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874, and he died in Boston Massachusetts in 1963. Before becoming a successful poet, Frost attended Dartmouth College and Harvard College, then he married his wife, Elinor White. After a few years of not being able to publish a poem, Frost moved to England where his poetry took flight. Frost’s poems concentrate on ordinary subject matter, but involve deep emotion and symbolism. Frost has publish cheerful, humorous poems right to dark, tragic poems. Robert Frosts Mending Wall poem is about both physical metaphorical walls and barriers between two neighbor’s because of a wall. It has obvious physical characteristics, but it also has a sense of mental fortification between the two neighbors. Most walls have a direction, a motive for why they are there. Why then is there a counter-productive and impractical wall, in the middle of no where? Is there a hidden purpose why the neighbors need this wall, perhaps a sense of security? Yes or no, this wall carries deep value.
The main barrier that any roadblock makes is the actual physical component of the wall. The definition of a wall is “a permanent enclosing thing” . That is the true purpose of a wall. “Before I built a wall, I’d ask to know what I was walling in or out, And to whom I was giving offence”(Frost, 32-34) What is this wall walling in or out? Really, there is no reason for these neighbors to have a wall. “He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across and eat the cones under his pines.”(Frost, 24-26)
A wall can also carry mental and psychological barriers, those you cannot see but you know they are there. Such as when two people are in a fight, and are not talking to each other. To the casual onlooker, there would appear to be nothing. But in reality there are numerous walls. Walls can give neighbors the idea that perhaps they do not like you, and he or she wants as much separation from you as possible. There make also be misconception with walls, with one neighbor not think at all that the wall is offensive, while the other is appalled.
On the complete other hand, a rock wall that needs to be reconstructed annually
can bring neighbors together. Once a year or once a season, the two men get together to repair the wall. This could be a bonding time for the two. However, a line says “to each the boulders that have fallen to each”(Frost, 16). This says that there was no helping between the two, but that could be because it is a manly thing to do your own work, no help needed. The wall can also be a place for conversation, a place to say while keeping ones privacy intact. Also, it could be that the two men take pride in their wall, making other neighbors jealous.
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” (Frost,1). If this particular wall is not loved by nature, by hunters, or by the wall-builders themselves, then is the wall serving its purpose? The wall brings physical barriers, walling something in and something out. It has symbolic barriers, in the sense that the wall can distance two neighbors. But a wall can also bring two neighbors together, and that is the true meaning of this poem. Everything in life has two sides to it- whether the glass is half full or half empty. It is up to us to choose what the real meaning is, from anything important in life, to something as simple as a mending wall.

| Posted on 2008-03-31 | by a guest


.: poem :.

Acquainted With the Night
Robert Frost
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
This is another example of Robert Frost’s work. This poem describes a community in an urban setting. The meter of this poem is iambic pentameter. He uses the poetic device of rhyme such as night,light,height and right along with rain,lane and explain. Although this poem takes place in the city it describes how alone you can be. I think that the luminary clock is the moon telling you its nighttime. When he hears an interrupted cry that only tell us that there are other people but he is still alone. Finally, I feel that the imagery he uses tells us that he is no stranger to the city nights and how alone one can feel even though there is so much going on.

| Posted on 2008-03-30 | by a guest


.: God :.

Here is my though.
Can it be God talking? Like seeing the misery of this world, related to the darkness in this poem, and the cry... related with the misery of the person whose crying. And the ''And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.'' be God seeing the misery but not doing anything, but becoming used to it ''Acquainted with the night'' or used to this misery... Dunno, just a thought...

| Posted on 2008-03-29 | by a guest




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