Emily Dickinson Acquainted With The Night Analysis

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Many children use nightlights when they go to bed in order to limit the darkness surrounding them; the darkness impairs vision, leaving them with an overwhelming feeling of vulnerability. Adults face this dilemma at times too; it is an instinct that has evolved with the human race. However, darkness is not only a reality, but it is also a symbol of fear as well. Emily Dickinson’s “419” and Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night” use darkness and night as symbols of hope and desolation respectively, as revealed through the poets’ use of imagery, point of view, and structure, to disclose that darkness can either envelop or be overcome. In “419,” Dickinson’s darkness is a metaphor for the unknown. Her use of dashes throughout each stanza disrupts their smooth flow and characterizes her narrator, showing the character’s hesitancy when abandoned in the darkness. As the character progresses through the darkness, however, the reader identifies a hopeful and perseverant tone. By expressing that “We uncertain step / For newness of the night,” the narrator shares the feeling of alarming change that is expected to become easier given time.…show more content…
Frost’s monotonous stanzas, as seen when he begins half of his lines with “I have” followed by a verb, produce an inherent feeling of boring routine. Whereas Dickinson’s poem stimulates hope, Frost’s poem causes all hope to cease by painting images of “the furthest city light” and “the saddest city lane.” His character’s progression through the night is that of regularity. Frost re-enforces this monotonous routine with a methodical rhyme scheme—aba bcb dcd dad aa—ending with the words, “I have been one acquainted with the night” signifying defeat. This submission leads to envelopment by darkness which shows that instead of adapting to make the darkness hopeful, surrendering causes the darkness to

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