Poe “Alone” Analysis Essay

Edgar Allan Poe is a well-known yet commonly misunderstood author. This is primarily due to his own personal tragedies that he suffered throughout his youth. The poem, “Alone” is a glimpse into the troubled soul of the now famous Poe and how he never looked at life the same as his peers.

In the first four lines of “Alone” it immediately becomes apparent that from a very young age Poe had been aware that he was different. For example, the lines “From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were – I have not seen as others saw,” illustrate that he has lived his life accompanied by sorrow and loneliness.

The author lives in a depressed state in which he cannot find joy or happiness from the same things as others: “I could not bring my passions from a common spring.” Then he continues with, “From the same source I have not taken my sorrow,” meaning that his sorrows are his own and not shared with anyone else which brings the reader to the title “Alone.

Poe’s troubled life influenced his writings by giving them a slightly grim tone. In “Alone” Poe tries to express that he always sees the dark in everything. Even when joy presents itself he cannot embrace it enough to overcast the sorrow in his heart: “I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone; and all I lov’d I lov’d alone.” The italicized “I” further emphasizes his solitude.

Around halfway through his poem the author begins to question why he cannot embrace the beauty around him: “From the torrent or the fountain – From the red cliff of the mountain – From the sun that round me roll’d – in its autumn tint of gold.” At first read these lines seem to portray beauty but
looking deeper there is another theme. The red cliff or blood on the mountain and sunlight rolling around him instead of shining on him, and the autumn setting where things start to die are all examples of the grim picture Poe paints.

He sees the beautiful world around him, but seeing it is all he can do. He cannot grasp and hang onto the joy around him. Poe looks to the clear blue sky heavens and sees only a cloud that takes the form of a demon symbolizing a coming storm. This refers to his words, “From the lightning in the sky – as it passes my flying by – From the thunder and the storm – and the cloud that took the form, (When the rest of Heaven was blue) – of a demon in my view.”

The poem “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe is evidence of his sorrow and troubled life. No matter what joy presents itself Poe’s heart always drifts to a dark, grim place. Each and every line digs a little deeper into Poe’s childhood where he lost everyone he cared about and further emphasizes why he carries this loneliness.

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