Study Guide

Acquainted with the Night Isolation

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While the speaker of "Acquainted with the Night" is acquainted with the night, his surroundings are all very distant, and, in the poem, he has no friends or family. He avoids the watchman, who is the only other human being in the poem. He hears a cry, but the poem becomes even more lonely and isolated when he reflects that the cry is not for him. It seems that the speaker is acquainted with the night, but he is not friends with anything in this world.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Does the speaker of this poem create his own isolation?
  2. How is the speaker affected by his loneliness? Does it make him sad, or is he just alone?
  3. How does the setting contribute to the theme of isolation?
  4. Where is the speaker coming from, and does he have family or friends nearby?
  5. Is the speaker just isolated and lonely, or is he depressed? What proof for this is in the poem?

Chew on This

The repeated instances of distance in this poem show that the speaker distances himself from civilization on purpose.

The imagery in this poem shows that the speaker may be depressed, but also that he enjoys being alone outside at night.

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