English 3 HL, Period 4
28 May 2010
Acquainted with Oneself
“Isolation is a self-defeating dream.” In other words, Carlos Salinas de Cortari states that the dream of isolation does nothing but defeat the soul of a person. In the case of the persona in Robert Frost’s poem, “Acquainted with the Night,” isolation leads to depression and defeats a possible dream of peace and satisfaction. The persona tells a story about how he has explored a city to its limits. A consideration of suicide is brought upon the reader, by the poem, and the theme of isolation and regret is developed through Frost’s use of tone, symbolism, and diction.
Many readers interpret this poem as depressing; displaying a man that is regretting something he has done in the past, which creates a melancholy tone. Frost uses the repetition of “I have” (I.1) to make a regretful tone. The persona has done many deeds or actions that have lead to his complete isolation to the outside world. This further develops the thought of suicide in the persona’s mind. Furthermore, the persona states he is “one acquainted with the night” (I.1). Is it not true that people acquaint with other people? The night is a something, not a someone, and it proves more that the persona is alone in this large world. Night is also related to death, and if the persona is acquainting himself with the night, then one may conclude that the persona is acquainting himself with death. The persona later states, “I have passed by the watchman on his boat and dropped my eyes…” (II.5-6). In this case, when in contact with another person, he doesn’t even look eye to eye with him. Once again, a tone of regret is created. The persona displays that he or she has done something terrible to another person, and not talking to and isolating himself from others such as the watchman, is his self-given punishment. The melancholy tone that Frost produces in this poem engulfs the reader as they learn more about this...