Study Guide

Alone (Poe) Man and the Natural World

By Edgar Allan Poe

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Man and the Natural World

"Alone" has it all. There are mountains, cliffs, and springs. There are torrents, and storms, and lightning. There's a strange cloud, a blue sky, and a nice golden sun. There's even mention of the time of year—autumn. Nature is all over this poem, especially the second half. This isn't your typical "oh tree you are so pretty" type poem, however. Nope, this is a poem where the natural world, while awe-inspiring, is also full of mystery. The sun isn't just the sun, and that weird red cliff on the mountain isn't just there for decoration. The speaker feels something magical, and he finds it in the natural world around him, which to him is both terrifying, beautiful, and his only real companion.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Is there anything deliberate about the natural features the speaker describes? Why torrents and lightning, for example?
  2. What is the effect of rhyming "fountain" and "mountain"?
  3. What's with the weather in this poem? How does it influence the way you read the poem?
  4. What's the significance of calling the cliff of the mountain "red"?

Chew on This

In some ways, the natural world becomes the speaker's true companion—the one to which he can really relate.

This poem show us that only a person that is truly unique, that does not think like everybody else, can experience the magical mystery of the natural world.

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