Metaphor in Acquainted with the Night

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Metaphorical Language in Front's Poetry

Beginning with the title, Front uses a lot of metaphorical language in his poetry. The viewer may interpret the night, which is a metaphor for darkness, to mean sadness, gloom, despair, and suffering. Due to the loneliness that is portrayed throughout the entire poem, the writer of the poem becomes familiar with these depressing emotions. The moon, which is still far away, is the only bright light the narrator observes in the poem. The poem is a metaphor for darkness, and this metaphor illustrates the narrator's isolation. The first line of the poem is a metaphor that establishes the setting which is the night and an extended metaphor for depression. The phrase “luminary clock” that is present in line 12 metaphorically compares the clock to the moon. Evidently, the only bright light in the poem is the moon. Its light reaches the speaker even when he goes past the lights of the city. Metaphorically, the moon is a deep representation of how the natural world prevails in light of civilization.

The Metaphor of Loneliness and Depression

Critically, the poem in itself represents a metaphor for somebody who experiences loneliness and depression. The narrator is somebody who avoids people and feels lonely while living in the city. In stanza 1, the narrator states “I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain – and back in rain. I have out walked the furthest city light” (Frost). This line creates an introduction for the story concerning a man who walked in the city in the middle of the night while feeling hopeless, lonely, and depressed. The metaphor is, therefore, evident in this first line. The word “night” contains a metaphor due to its darkness, which shows evil and bad things. The narrator becomes acquainted with the night and, therefore, realizes the impact that the night has on him. Additionally, the word “walk” is a metaphor for continued things which happen in steps. Another metaphor is contained in the word “rain,” which assumes the meaning “cold” and could make somebody sick when continuously walking through it. The rain is a metaphor for problems, life difficulties, diseases, and heartache.

Additional Metaphors in the Poem

In line 4, “I have looked down the saddest city lane” another metaphor is concealed (Frost). This could imply that city’s lane is a memory of the narrator’s life and, therefore, the narrator remembers the worst and saddest phase of his life. Line 5, “I have passed by the watchman,” connotes a metaphor in the word “watchman” (Frost). It could be used to imply idealism, religion, God, or moral in the society. The narrator avoids these aspects which could be termed to be a result of the feeling of shame or maybe the narrator would not be understood if he tries to explain everything to the watchman. In line 12, “One luminary clock against the sky,” the luminary clock is a metaphor for the moon, as the setting of the poem is the night (Frost). From this, the moon is a metaphor for fate which rotates in the life of a person. It implies that at some point an individual’s life can be dark, but afterward, it rotates and shines brightest, removes sadness, and brings happiness. It is just a matter of time for this to be realized.

Work Cited


Frost Robert. “Acquainted with the Night.” Poetry Foundation, 2004, Accessed 28 Apr. 2017.

July 15, 2023




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