The Themes of Darkness in the Poems We Grow Accustomed to the Dark by Emily Dickinson and Acquainted With the Night by Robert Frost
The poems “We grow accustomed to the Dark” by Emily Dickinson and “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost are both distinctly about darkness. Both authors relate the darkness to real life emotions such as sadness and depression, but the way they both describe it as is different than one another. That can be told by the titles of the poems. Accustomed is a word that describes a thing that usually happens while acquainted means the knowing of, but not completely familiar with. So basically one poem says darkness is a common thing to happen while the other poem says it happens, but not too often. The way darkness is used within these poems makes the reader thinks about literal darkness or night. When you look deeper into the poem, that is not what is being discussed. The darkness represents sadness or a tough time in life. The poems both say that darkness and sadness happen to everyone because nobody’s life is perfect. Everybody goes through hard times no matter what and you have to learn to cope with them with given circumstances.
The poem “We grow accustomed to the Dark” is more of a darker poem than the other one. It says that there is always darkness happening everywhere but humans just grow accustomed to it throughout life and that it is not noticed completely. It is mostly noticed when a major negative event happens such as a family death which is kind of selfish if humans only worry about their own self happiness and not anyone else’s. This poem had dashes in many locations throughout the entire poem. The dashes make the reader pause in their head for a second and then continue on. They would cause a dramatic effect that the second poem lacked. This poem was written in first person plural. Every time the word “we” is said, the reader is included as well as anyone else too. The strongest line within this poem is “And sometimes hit a Tree Directly in the Forehead-”. This line is powerful because it is saying that darkness/sadness can come out of nowhere and hit us right in the face without warning. It is a good analogy to use because walking in the dark could result in walking into objects that cause pain which in this case is the branch of a tree.
The second poem “Acquainted with the Night” is brighter than the first one. There are no dashes within to cause dramatic effect like the first one and is not written in first person plural. This poem is written in first person singular which takes a more personal approach. The poem would only be about the reader as they are saying “I” over and over again. This poem uses parallelism in it to make connections with items. The big theme within this poem is that sadness isn’t a big deal to some people’s lives. They experience the sadness, but it is just known of instead of being familiar with. That is why they are an acquaintance with the dark; it occurs, but very rarely. An important literary device that is used within this poem and not the first poem is a book ending. A book ending is when the first line and the last line of the poem are the same exact thing. This is because the author wants the reader to see and notice it, and to think about it more on a deeper level. The line is, “I have been one acquainted with the night.” This line is important because it is saying that night (darkness/sadness) is an acquaintance. This poem isn’t saying that sadness will come out of nowhere but that it will happen not as often. Sadness might happen a lot in one person’s life, but this poem is saying that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things will eventually get better and it won’t be sadness forever.
These two poems, written by two very different authors are both extremely similar and different at the same time. They are both the same because they are both poems about darkness and sadness. However, they both use different literary techniques such as eye rhyme and book ending to get their point across. They both say that sadness will be part of every human’s life but that it will go away eventually. These two poems are both well-crafted works of literature that properly display darkness and sadness.
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