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The Passing of the Year

The Passing of the Year

by Robert Service

The Optimist

Symbol Analysis

This is the second audience member we meet. He also has the distinction of being just about the only consistently happy dude in the poem. Seems like he's had a great year, even if everyone else was crying and getting old and trembling in fear. The "Optimist" is the speaker's name for him, and again, that's pretty different from calling him "Victor" or "Rob" or something like that. In a way, he feels like a stand-in for all the happy, lucky people in the world.

  • Line 25: This line drives home the idea that the speaker is really sitting next to these people in a theater. It's all part of making the extended metaphor of the theater feel like a living, breathing, exciting thing.
  • Line 31: This is where the speaker actually calls him an "Optimist." Again, it doesn't sound much like he's talking to a real person. It's more like he's addressing an idea, talking to the idea of optimism itself.
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