The Opposite Themes in Acquainted with the Night and I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
An everchanging world we live in. Earth is the fifth largest planet in our solar system. It is gigantic. It is easy to get lost, to lose yourself. Since modern times, depression has been a battle every person deals with. Depression is defined by Meriam-Webster’s dictionary as, “a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking or concentration, time spent feelings of dejection and hopelessness.”. Depression affects everyone individually. People find different ways to cope with depression. Some write songs, some people make art, some people write poetry. People relieve stress differently. An article recently published by www.DailyMail.com says, “a new report based on 196 people with psychological problems found that 75% found writing, and reading poems was an emotional release.”. In class, we looked at poems about love, betrayal, equality and everything in between. Depression is not only in the 21st century, it has a long, somber history. The poems I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth (1807) and Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost (1928) show how depression can be fought and overcame. These works paint a picture of loneliness. Although, there is beauty in the struggle. People become stronger over time and move on. Depression affects everyone and has no age limits.
Depression can be different. It is an uphill battle. Isolation and loneliness are prevalent, but there is hope. A lot of people have misconceptions about depression, such as “depression being a sign of weakness”, or “talking about it only makes it worse.”. (www.communityreach.com) In Robert Frost’s poem “Acquainted with the Night”, Frost depicts how a cold winter night is similar to depression. It isn’t safe for females to do but walking around at night is a truly eye-opening experience. You see every part of your life, but it is slightly different and abandoned. First published in 1928 by Robert Frost, this poem takes us through a man’s wander. He wanders through the city, slowly becoming more detached from society. Isolating himself further with each step he takes. The only person he passes is a watchman, who doesn’t even make eye-contact with him. The themes of this poem are isolation and sadness. A man starts walking, and he does not know where he is going. “I have passed by the watchman on his beat and dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain”. The poet articulates how a man has slowly lost his hope, and now walks at night, searching, longing for it. As he walks, he hears a loud cry. But it is not him crying, so he keeps on. Finally, he looks up at the moon, proclaiming “One luminary clock against the sky, proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right”. Searching for answers at night in the sky, finding none, “he has been acquainted with the night”. This poet is creating an image of just how lonely depression can be.
The next focal point of the essay is the piece “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth. Originally published in 1807, but later altered and finalized in 1815. This is considered to be one of the most meaningful pieces of Romantic English poetry. Growing up in the European countryside of Cumberland, England. Wordsworth attended St. John’s College in Cambridge, falling in love with poetry. One of his most famous pieces is. “I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once, A host, of golden daffodils”. Stop right there quickly. What do daffodils symbolize? They symbolize rebirth, and new beginnings. Depression, while it can be dark, is often the start of a new beginning.
“I gazed – and gazed – but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought”. As we move through life fast, we often lose sight of perspectives. The perspectives of seeing the beauty in nature for example. Wordsworth articulates how he used to walk around, searching for nature, for natural beauty, only to now discover that it was closer than he ever thought. The reason why these daffodils were so powerful was that their imagery resonated long in his mind after he had seen the flowers. Their beauty was something he knew he could hold on to. And cherish in hard times. These century old poems emphasize that personal battles are hard but can be won. These poets turned dreary, dark nights, into the opportunity for a small light of hope to show itself. A man can walk around at night, clueless, sad, and angry with the world. Or he can wake up in the morning and go on a walk to see the beautiful nature, the beautiful daffodils.
The reason that I chose these two poems, was because they are opposite ends of the spectrum. Frost’s poem, acquainted with the Night, examines a much darker state of depression, one with no hope and no light. It is lonely and can feel never-ending, similar to how walking in the night can feel never-ending. Then looking at the next poem, written by William Wordsworth. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud takes on a different perspective of depression. The post-depression stage. The stage where the flowers start to look pretty again. The stage where a person becomes stronger, because they made it through. “And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils.” Life is what you make of it. It can be gloomy and dark, or bright and full of life. Unexpected events happen in everyone’s lives, but it is how you respond to your challenges that defines you. Always remember, you are not alone.
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