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The Passing of the Year
The Passing of the Year
by Robert Service
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The Audience

Symbol Analysis

The people who are sitting in this imaginary theater are a part of the extended metaphor, too. Service doesn't come out and say it, but these audience members are standing in for the people who have lived through this year along with the speaker. We're not sure if they're meant to stand in for the whole world – maybe they're just an interesting sample. Still, there's a way in which they seem less like real people and more like ideas or stock characters (the rich guy, the criminal, the disappointed lover, etc.).

  • Line 16: Here the speaker is telling the Old Year to turn around, to take one more look at the people who, along with him, have lived through this last year. Remember, this whole poem is about having a chance to look back at the past year. Now this whole room full of people is getting a chance to do that, to think about the Old Year, and the speaker is watching them do it.