alone by poe poetry analysis

Poe’s poem Alone was the first to portray his dark side as a reflection of himself feeling different and unwanted by others. Alone is interpreted as autobiographical, expressing the feelings of isolation and inner torment. Poet Daniel Hoffman claims Alone was evidence that “Poe really was a haunted man.” The poem, however, is an introspective about Poe’s youth, written when he was twenty years old. Alone was a message to Poe himself as he characterizes his emotions as being separate from others. The first lines in his poem, “From childhood’s hour I have not been- As others were- I have not seen; As others saw- I could not bring; My passions from a common spring..,” is an indication that he may have felt different compared to his peers and insecure for not having the same social skills or passions. He then goes on to express how his life felt alone and empty, “And all I lov’d- I lov’d alone.”

Readers that may know of Poe’s childhood could identify this as him relating to his home situation and feeling unloved or not having the same comfort he was longing for in his relationship with Allan. Poe recognized how isolated he felt but blamed himself for being different and having these thoughts which set him apart, “From ev’ry depth of good and ill; The mystery which binds me still.” Poe appears to be admitting that him having different thoughts than his peers is a “mystery” which leads him to an inner torment as he struggles to find himself. Poe then makes a metaphor to refer himself as a demon in the world compared to his surroundings: “(When the rest of Heaven was blue); Of a demon in my view.” His peers represent Heaven which is commonly associated with having a symbol of peace and happiness.

To then compare himself as becoming a demon, captivates the readers emotions that Poe feels so alone in his dark thoughts to assume that he is not a part of the heavenly world at all. Poe expressed in his poem Alone his inner thoughts of feeling unaccepted in the world and how his dark thoughts were setting him apart creating an emotional disconnect with life. As Poe grew older, his perspective on what life is for him only changed.

Poe expresses each stage of life from his own perspective in his poem The Bells, as he incorporates the use of word choice, tone shifts, and symbolism so that the audience can feel sorrow similar to the way he does. The reader can identify a change in tone throughout the poem and interestingly shows the expressions on their face when the poem is read aloud unconsciously. The first stanza has a tone of being lighthearted and happy by using words that have palatovelar sound which makes the reader smile such as “tinkling” and “jingling.” The second stanza has the tone of still being happy but more relaxed. By stanza three, the tone becomes more panicked as Poe uses words that cause a different expression on an individual’s face compared to the first two stanzas.

By stanza four, the dialect changes as well as the tone giving off more of a melancholy approach with words such as “moaning” and “groaning.” Kevin Graham, a literary critic, says,“Not only does he powerfully convey emotional effects to his readers, but he also makes his readers subconsciously convey those effects with facial expressions when the poem is read aloud.” From a different perspective, Poe conveys the message of life moments going downhill for him as the bells are meant to express his inner feelings. Each bell represents the different stages in life. Silver bells is for the beginning of life as he describes as “… a world of merriment…” Golden bells is next, matching the tone of still being happy, the moment in life is described as “… a world of happiness…” The next bell is brazen, which symbols terror in life and having fear that he connected to himself dealing with fear of who he is as an individual and facing his insecurities, “Too much horrified to speak; they can only shriek, shriek; Out of tune…”

The last bell represents the end of life having a melancholy tone. There is no fear or panic expressed from Poe with his last stanza of the iron bells only a sense of sadness and loneliness, “What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!” The Bells acts as an interaction between the author and audience, as expressed by Kevin Graham, but also serves as another perspective from Poe himself as he addresses the course of life.

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