“Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe

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Introduction

“Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe, a great American writer and poet, is a famous lyrical poem. He published this poem in 1829 when he was very young. Sadly, the poem depicts a bleak picture of the speaker’s childhood. Additionally, t explains how the events of his childhood impacted his life as a whole. Unfortunately, the troubled series of experiences led him to become a “loner” who gathered all his dark thoughts within himself. Thus, the poem sheds light on his depressed childhood.

Major Themes in “Alone”

Some of the major themes of the poem are as follows.

  1. Negativity
  2. Loneliness
  3. Sadness

“Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe encompasses various themes such as; loneliness, sadness, and negativity. The poem begins with a portrayal of the gloomy glimpses of the speaker’s childhood, where he compares his early experiences with what ordinary people live through.

Moreover, his extreme loneliness and introverted behavior added more to his misery. As a result, these devastating events he went through completely changed his persona, and he became a bitter person full of pessimistic thoughts. Ironically, the alluring charms of nature fail to bring pleasure to his life.

Analysis of literary and Poetic Devices

Literary devices used in this poem are:

  1. Assonance
  2. Imagery
  3. Anaphora
  4. Consonance
  5. Personification

The poem carries three stanzas in it. The poet has used various literary devices to attract the reader’s attention and create a visual image of the events he penned down through his words.

The first one among these devices is assonance, repetition of vowel sounds in a single line. It can be seen as the repetition of /o/ sound in “From childhood’s hour I have not been” and /i/ sound in “From the lightning in the sky” are evident examples.

Second, imagery is the most prominent device used by the poet in “Alone”. The poet successfully created an image in the reader’s mind to quickly grasp things through the five senses. “From the red cliff of the mountain,” “In its autumn tint of gold,” “From the thunder, and the storm” enable us to visualize the scenario distinctly.

Moreover, the poet intensified his feelings by using anaphora i.e. repetition of words as in the beginning line of first stanza, where he repeats the words “as others” to accentuate his sorrow. Like assonance, he also used the device consonance. He repeated many consonants sounds in his verses, such as the repetition of /r/ in “From the torrent, or the fountain” and /s/ in “The mystery which binds me still.”

Another important device which he has used is personification. Personification is when you accord humanistic qualities and attributes to a non-human thing or object. The poet personified by giving heaven a feeling of blue as he says, “When the rest of Heaven was blue.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Alone

Besides literary elements, Poe has also inserted some poetic poetic elements in the poem as well such as;

  • Stanza
  • Rhyme scheme
  • Iambic tetrameter

The poet has created a rhythm by using these poetic devices. “Alone” is a long twenty-two-lined poem and has no stanza break. He has followed AABB type rhyme scheme throughout the entire poem. He used iambic tetrameter, having four iambs per line. “From childhood’s hour, I have not been” is a prominent example.

To read full poem, please click here.

In-depth analysis of “Alone”

Stanza#1

In these lines, the poet says that his childhood was not the way other children have. Usually, the children have similar joyful and pleasant childhood experiences, but he could not see the amusements as every child has. So, he developed very differently, not like other children. As a consequence, his choices and preferences in life are also very different and unique. He could not feel happiness in the things that normal children used to. He was fond of things that were very unusual for a child to love and adore.

Stanza#2

Here, the poet narrates that his childhood had experiences that still occupy his mind and have bound his personality in many aspects. It has made him the person he is today; he claims that he cannot unwind the mysterious happenings still, and this has encaged him in unlimited thoughts for a lifetime. Those events still haunt him and have become a permanent part of him as a human being.

Stanza#3

These lines refer to the traumatizing situation that the poet had experienced. He talks about the circumstances that he had to face, and he remembers every minute detail of it. The speaker says that he had a devil in his view, which portrays that there was a person who was responsible for all the bad that happened to him. He calls him a demon which indicates an evil aspect of the entire situation. A person who was a villain and responsible for the ill that took place, and this clearly throws light on the fact that he was his crime and the wrongdoer.

Suggested Readings

The Old Man and the Sea By Earnest Hemingway Analysis

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