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Symbol Analysis

For most of the poem, the narrator is walking, which becomes a metaphor for persistence, as grudging as it may be. This walk is not a brisk, happy walk through the countryside, but a lonely walk through the night. It seems a little illicit, and nothing is quite right, but nonetheless, the narrator keeps going, walking out and back, walking through the night. Even though he is unhappy, he keeps on keeping on.

  • Line 2: This line establishes that the narrator is walking. It uses repetition to make the walking seem long and weary: he trudges out through the rain, then back again.
  • Line 3: Here, not only do we see that the narrator is walking, but appropriate to the loneliness and distance of the poem, he's outwalked the city lights. This line could imply that, through walking, the speaker is distancing himself.
  • Line 5: The movement continues in this line. Though the speaker "passed by," not "walked by," again we see that he is moving past all hopes of human contact.
  • Line 7: In this line, the narrator stops walking and stands still, an eerie discontinuation of the poem's movement. Yet this line, both through meaning and through the alliteration of "st" sounds, adds an important element to the idea of walking in the poem – the sound of feet. If you listen carefully, the iambic pentameter of the poem sounds like footsteps.

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