interpretation of "Alone" (NOT A SIMPLE ONE! SOMETHING HAVING TO DO WITH : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I've been analyzing "Alone" for a HUGE English project (due next Monday, April 8, that is). So I know that "Alone" is about him feeling he's different, but what does the symbolism say? What do the torrent, fountain, red cliff, and mountain represent? Why is heaven blue? Is it some sort of parallel or allusion to the ocean? And is he talking about a specific demon? Thanks for any help you can give.

Alone By Edgar Allen Poe

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- From the same source I have not taken My sorrow-I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone- And all I lov’d- I lov’d alone. Then-in my childhood-in the dawn Of a most stormy life-was drawn From ev’ry depth of good and ill The mystery that binds me still- From torrent, or the fountain- From the red cliff of the mountain- From the sun that round me roll’d In its autumn hint of gold- From the lightning in the sky As it pass’d me 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.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2002


A very early poem with Byronic overtones(Manfred ii,ii,50-56, The prisoner of Chillon X,44-49). The first part of the poem to the word "alone" describes the difference in perception and passion between himself and others. The second part is the revelation "the mystery that binds me still" in a vision from the past. This is similar to another poem("Dreams") where Poe is moved by a powerful dream that too is separate from a stormy life and alienated reality. As in Byron, the cloud in the bright blue sky symbolizes the melancholy of aloneness. Melancholy itself is described sometimes as a demon but in any event this not necessarily an evil apparition. It is the power which it comands in the vision. Poe does not often ascribe really to any demonology. Mostly they are poetically figurative in some way. By and large the frightening demons or ghouls(again not necessarily evil despite the upsetting mood)are associated with solitary, deserted places and memories of the dead past.

The wildly glorious, awesome romantic landscape, recalling the vistas of contemporary American landscapes by Church and others, is tinted autumn gold, made more dramatic by a lightning storm(a passing thundercloud). It seems a personal memory of an intense partiicipation in nature ending again on a symbol of alienation, so that even the personal communion with nature cannot heal his aloneness. Autumn and the cloud and the daunting size of nature seem to overwhelm the poet. Future autmnal settings in Poe are colder, later and more lugubrious and oppressing(Ulalume, The Raven), but it starts here in childhood.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2002

Moderation questions? read the FAQ