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Poetry of the Romantic, Victorian and Modern Era

ENG3U: Semester II, 2005


Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

By Spencer and Chris

Poetic Devices
The Top Ten Interesting Facts about Robert Frost
HE / HIS...
Note: Some facts may be a little disturbing
1)Sons committed suicide
2)Won four Pulitzer prizes
3)Two of his children mental breakdowns
4)Was born with a mental illness
5)Dad had a drinking problem
6)Mom abandoned him
7)Fondness for all things Greek
8)Once said, "Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up"
9)Teached at a high school in Plymouth
10)Named after Southern General Robert E. Lee

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The Historical Context
Personal Background...

Robert Frost was exposed to literature from an early age from his parents who were both teachers. While he grew up he admired works by William Shakespeare, Robert Buras, and William Wordsworth. He lived in America most of his life but moved to England for a period of time with his family. While he was there he took in the European culture which inspired him to do some of his best writing there. When he returned to America his poetry was becoming more and more popular there. He had poems published as early as high school when his first was published in the school newspaper. Frost grew up and suffered many person tragedies such as his wife dying in 1938; two of his daughters had mental breakdowns and spent some time in a mental institute. Shortly after his wife death one of his sons, who was an aspiring poet, committed suicide. Frost himself also suffered from depression for a period of time. With Frost's many problems and tragedy it is clear why his poem "Acquainted with the night" has such an unhappy atmosphere to it.
Historic Events...

During the time period Robert Frost wrote "Acquainted with the night" the America was in a state of happiness resulting from the end of World War 1. Frost wrote the poem on the tail end of the roaring twenties in 1928. America had been enjoying a time of prosperity but Frost's writing reflected the unhappiness of the next year when the great stock market crash ushered in a time of economic failure when much of the population was plunged into a life of unemployment and desperation also known as the great depression. Perhaps when Frost wrote this poem he had thought that this prosperity could not last and a time of depression must be near so he wrote in an unhappy manor.
Literary Time Period...

Robert Frost wrote the poem in the Modern Era of American Poetry. Modern Poetry is a form of writing that reflects on the style of the earlier Victorian time period which preceded it. Modern Poets wrote poems with more literal meaning of the words they used. Like strange verses which before may have represented a completely different meaning, now represent exactly what they say. The modern period was slightly set back from World War 1 which caused a number of disturbances such as the actual poets having to serve in the war and a shortage of paper and other supplies needed to publish poetry.

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A Critical Analysis of "Acquainted with the Night"
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,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
The main themes, ideas and topics in the poem, "Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost, is mostly revolving around the author's loneliness and his disconnection between himself and others. The topic of night was to bring out a mood that gives out a depressing atmosphere. In the first line that said he had been acquainted with the night means that he knows about or has experienced this pessimistic mood. From the next line about rain, it explains to the reader that no matter what the weather is outside, he still ventures out in the night. In a more meaningful sentence, it is saying that he always feels sad and sorrow not matter what. Having to "outwalked the furthest city [and] looked down the saddest city lane" emphasizes that the author's inner feelings are at a state which is the end of redemption. He has gone through the most sorrow moments than any body has ever had. From the fact that he "dropped his eyes" while passing the watchman, meant that he was too ashamed of his feelings of sadness and wanted to keep all his feelings to himself. On the last few lines talking about the luminary clock (referring to the moon) proclaiming the neither right nor wrong, meant that the certain times at night where the moon appears has a unique and different style than daytime does. Daytime is a time of work and rush hour where as nighttime is a moment of reflection and when the author enters into his own sadness.

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Poetic Devices

D --> Definitions A--> Poem Analysis


D: A form of paradox in which contrary terms are placed side by side in a single phrase
A:"Walked out in rain" (describing his mood)

D: Repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of a line throughout a text or a section
A: "I have" , repeatedly discribing about himself

D: A duplication of lines
A: "I have been one acquainted with the night" (emphasizing his feelings in metaphor to the night)

D: A comparison of dissimilar items which lend additional meaning to the items compared
A: "I have been one acquainted with the night" (comparing his inner feelings to the mood of the night)
"one luminary clock..." (compares the clock to the moon

D: The applied use of any iconic representations (symbols), which carry particular conventional meanings
A: "night" (in the poem, night symbolizes sorrow and loneliness)

D: Human characteristics attributed to non-humans.
A: "...saddest city lane..." (city lane cannot be sad)

D: The repetition of consonant sounds usually at the beginning of words
A: "...stood still and stopped the sound..."

D:An extreme exaggeration to make a point.
A:"Unearthly Height" (exaggerating on the hieght)

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Work Cited:

Unknown Author.
Acquainted With The Night Analysis.

Unknown Author.
[1565] Acquainted with the Night
2/11/2004. 18/4/2007.

Unknown Author.
Rober Frost. 18/4/2007.

Unknown Author.
Robert (Lee) Frost (1874-1963)

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