Robert Frost Essay Analysis
The similar ideas of dark and night appear in works by both Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, but the meaning of the two concepts in context of the literary works differ greatly. In Emily Dickinson’s “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” and Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night” the theme of night and darkness is compared and contrasted through the literary elements of point of view, imagery, and structure. The concept of darkness and night is portrayed in both Emily Dickinson’s and Robert Frost’s poem through the use of point of view.
In each of these poems, the poet writes in the first tense, giving the reader a sense that the narrator has personally experienced the presence of the symbolic “darkness” and “night”. However, while “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” is written in a plural point of view, “Acquainted with the Night” is written in a singular view.
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This gives a differing meaning to dark and night between these two poems, because although Dickinson’s plural poem encompasses humanity as a whole, showing the dark to be a natural point in life, Frost’s poem depicts the night his character is experiencing as a lonely, solitary happening.
The differences in these two poems help to show night as a more unnatural and depressing experience than the dark that happens to everyone. Dickinson introduces her topic as a proper noun, immediately establishing it as the focus of the poem; perhaps, she is enticing readers to interpret the word, making it clear that “Dark” is not simply “dark”. The speaker is introduced to darkness simply by stepping into it, seemingly with a purpose. However, she also states that “we uncertain step for newness of the night,” bringing to mind an image of a place of uncertainty, of knowledge to be gained.
From this point, Dickinson conveys an image of a person gaining their night vision – sight does not come until the fourth stanza, symbolizing the perilous journey toward gaining knowledge and illumination. It is also noted that only the “Bravest- grope a little,” as, in reality, only those with true purpose will complete the journey towards wisdom, as even with four remaining senses, the journey through the dark is difficult and bewildering.
Soon, a sense of hope and accomplishment is imbued upon those who take the journey when “something in the sight adjusts itself to midnight. ” Finally, a state of comfort is reached, where the speaker has gained enough sight, or knowledge, to bring themselves to the point where “Life steps out almost straight,” referring to an immediate enlightenment. Dickinson’s and Frost’s poems compare and contrast the symbolic notions of dark and night through poem structure. Both poems are written as a set of stanzas.
By separating parts of the poem’s, both poets have effectively shown the experience of dark and night as a progression of time. Though in Dickinson’s the poem progresses from a sense of despair to the narrator finally beginning to find his way, Frost’s poem continues the same thread of depression until the very end of his poem. Regardless, the stanzas section of f stages of the experience of both dark and night, showing that both of these themes are life experiences that someone works through as time develops.
The rhyme scheme in these two works aids in contrasting the dark and night. In “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark”, the verse is free. The free rhyme scheme expresses the unstableness the narrator is experiencing in response to the dark. He is unfamiliar and lost in the darkness. This is a great distinction from the rhyme scheme in “Acquainted with the Night” that Frost sticks to religiously. This more structured style symbolizes how the narrator is more familiar with the darkness, because it has been with him for a long time and he has adapted to the feeling.
So where the dark is shown as an unexpected, probably short-term bout of confusion, the night is a gradual depression that the narrator has fallen into long ago. Though point of view, imagery, and structure, “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” by Emily Dickinson and “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost, the themes of dark and night are compared and contrasted. Analysis of the poems has proven the dark to symbolize an abrupt feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do next, where as the night represents a long-term depression the narrator experiences.