what does the second part of " Alone" mean?

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HI, I have to study Poe's "alone", but i can't understand the second part of this poem.When Poe says "Then in my childhood...". So if anyone could help me , it would be very great. I need to have the answer before friday morning. Thanks.


-- Anonymous, November 08, 2000



Please forgive any delay in responding to your question. While I was aware of this poem, it was too long ago to recall from memory and I had to do some looking around. It must be presumed that you are speaking of the original "Alone", or the version that was first printed in Scribner's Monthly by E. L. Didier in September of 1875. It is of 22 lines and is estimated to have been written about 1829, when Poe was 20 years old, it was never published during Poe's lifetime. According to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore website at URL http://www.eapoe.org/works/poems/alonea.htm , the notes at the bottom indicate that this poem was originally penned in the autograph album of a Ms. Lucy Holmes Balderston without a title and was given this title by Didier in the 1875 publication.

The poem appears to be an early but classic example of Poe's poetic ideals that he had refined throughout his life. While it may lack the maturity of his later poems, it does give the reader a sense of his awakening to a distinction between his personal perception of the world and what of those around him saw or felt or believed.

In our youth, most of us, at one point or another, contemplate the uniqueness of our existence, our own personal reality. For some, it is a dreadful thought and is perceived as an isolating experience of being alone, one in which they cannot bear the loneliness of human independence or a solitary existence. For others, this uniqueness is a badge to be worn proudly, expounded upon and illustrated or demonstrated, perhaps in artistic form, for all to see. Regardless, even in their expressions of pride and joy and self-respect, there is a certain indefinable aloneness in their inability to share that uniqueness with someone. Poe was fortunate, ultimately, to find that someone in Virginia, his wife. She did not necessarily share his passions for poetry and literature and, perhaps, she was possessed of her own uniqueness of mind. Yet, they loved each other for their individual uniqueness and the acceptance of these differences has been noted by their friends in their affection and complete devotion to one another.

Having made these points, well or poorly (I'll let you judge), I will attempt here to answer your question more specifically. The remaining lines of the poem, written at the age of 20, seem to be a lamentation of his continued singleness of mind into his adolescence and even early adulthood, that he sees nothing changing for him. That while all the world around him looked to a world of pleasant skies and happy lives, he saw only demons to overcome. I suppose it could be said that this was a prophetic thought on his part for he did struggle throughout his life. Fortunately, thanks to Virginia, he did not struggle completely "Alone". : )

Best Regards,

-- Anonymous, November 11, 2000

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