Robert Frost's Acquainted With the Term Paper

Total Length: 1169 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

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Kidd. The poet's journey toward the night, his familiarity with the night, both represents the poet's search for "complete self-knowledge" and his willingness to explore unknown - again, mysterious - territory.

In the second stanza, Amano conjectures that Frost is putting the persona into the reader's consciousness in the form of a denial of others. The "watchman" is the only other human in this poem, of course, but beyond that, it may be that the speaker looks down rather than at the watchman because the speaker feels some guilt, or indifference. The watchman might be a timekeeper, as well, and the poet / speaker is reluctant to face the reality that his time is running out on this earth.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet / When far away an interrupted cry / Came over houses from another street..." Frost writes in the third stanza. That cry, it seems, as readers learn in the fourth stanza, is not to try to coax him into returning or showing courtesy; it is likely to show him that nothing will prevent him from discovering the new possibilities, Amano conjectures. Other scholars have written about this poem in the sense that it is really just Frost explaining that there are many choices one must make when preparing to write a poem. If that is true, and therein lies part of the mystery alluded to earlier, then the line " interrupted cry" might be Frost's image of creative writers who struggle to find originality and meaning in their poetry.

That suggestion having been covered, and even if Frost's poems are about the nature of poetry itself, when he writes of the "luminary clock against the sky" in the fourth stanza he is returning to the first line, as poems should do. Indeed, the night in the first line is juxtaposed to the moonlight shining down from that "clock" (phases of the moon are precise and relate to specific dates, hours and minutes).
Murray contends that the moon "contrasts with darkness" and that fact adds another contrast to a poem that is already full of contrasts.

Murray goes on to suggest that the moon is a symbol of our "perception of time" because it "both spans and divides the past and the present." The persona is lonely, readers know from alertly paying attention to the poem's introduction; but the persona, lonely and lost notwithstanding, still must choose a response to the universe of light, dark, right and wrong, and to that distant cry. And the last line, identical to the opening line, leaves the reader with a bit more mystery. Is that last line the same as the first because Frost wants to suggest that there has been no progress for the persona? I don't believe so at all. I believe that throughout the short poem, the poet has been positioned as a deep thinker who challenges himself (and hence the reader) to both accept his position in life, and acknowledge that the exploration of life's meaning - in and out of the darkness of uncertainty and confusion - is the key to being acquainted with the cosmic world.

Works Cited

Amano, Kyoko. "Frost's ACQUAINTED WITH the NIGHT." Explicator 65.1 (2006): 39-42.

Frost, Robert. "Acquainted with the Night." Retrieved 6 Oct. 2007 at

Murray, Keat. "Robert Frost's Portrait of a Modern Mind: The Archetypal Resonance of Acquainted with the Night'." Midwest Quarterly….....

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