‘Acquainted with the Night’ is a lyric poem which expresses the solitude and loneliness of the speaker, and also provides a self- revelation of one being alienated and not knowing where to belong, by presenting a story where the speaker finds acquaintance in the night as he walks down the sad city streets. The melancholy imagery is the first thing that relates you with the poem’s theme. The setting of which he walks in the ‘saddest city lane’ (4) differs from Frost’s usual countryside setting, which corresponds to the feeling of him not belonging to this world.
Through images of walking in and out of the rain, the furthest city lights, the dark night and the saddest city lane, readers identify with the speaker, a lonely person who has become acquainted with the night. Nothing can be more powerful in expressing loneliness than the image of a man walking alone in the rain, in the middle of a sad street; and him being in the rain is emphasized by replicating ‘in rain’ in ‘[walking] out in rain – and back in rain’ (2). The notion of distance is emphasized by words such as ‘walked’, ‘out walked’, ‘passed’, ‘stood still’, ‘far away’, ‘further’… o express the sense of non-belonging, as he feels a distance from all these human objects. In addition, a collection of sight and sounds of the night is used to enhance the image, from the ‘interrupted cry’ (8) the speaker hears and the ‘luminary clock’ (12) he sees. The speaker speaks from the first person perceptive, and just by using a plain and recollecting tone the speaker gives the impression of being an account of one’s walk in a solitary city night, giving an honest window for the reader to the speaker’s heart, which is full of desolation and depression.
Through the poem’s form and rhyme, the sight of a lonely man walking down sad streets in the night is portrayed, and the sense of heavy isolation and alienation is expressed. The poem uses an Italian type of sonnet called the Terza Rima (aba/bcb/cdc/dad/aa), which is a rhyme set that is difficult to develop, as the rhymes in the 3-lined stanzas interlock, giving a tight and intertwined perfect end rhyme. The rhyme prepares the comeback of the speaker’s title: ‘I have been one acquainted with the night. ‘ at the closing line by rhyming ‘night’