Why have some of the protagonists within the stories or poems considered as isolated? How do the lessons from each of these stories reflect upon our everyday lives? In life, there’s many times in which we feel similar to introverts and need to stay away from others or we go through something even more difficult. Through the use of literary devices, life can reflect itself in many ways both physically and spiritually. In the short stories “Araby” and “The House on Mango Street” similarities exist between these stories and the poem “Acquainted with the Night”. The many images within these different literary works are considered key symbols to describe how the identity of each protagonist presents itself.
Just from “Acquainted with the night”, one can imagine the setting in which this takes place and think about what you might do in the shoes of our protagonist. In Robert Frost’s poem “Acquainted with the Night”, the protagonist has been known as the unnamed narrator. The night’s a metaphor for darkness, which interprets itself as sadness, depression or suffering. The narrator’s aware of these feelings of depression because of the loneliness mentioned throughout the poem. The poem revolves around a lonely speaker who endlessly walks through the city where he or she lives but is unable to find anyone that would help with their depression on their journey. Loneliness and isolation, the two major themes to consider with this poem lay the foundation for what to expect. The speaker is being “Acquainted with the Night” because the night carries the same emotion as the speaker. In the first and last lines of the poem “I have been one acquainted with the night” (Frost pg. 503 lines 1 and 14), this quote is not only a personification but also has the night be the symbolic loneliness and confinement of the unnamed narrator. While others are usually asleep during the night, our protagonist is taking strolls and getting acquainted with the night furthering his isolation. In the following quote there is evidence to depict what isolation is like; “the furthest city light” (Frost pg. 503 line 3), because as the speaker begins to walk further and further away from the city and loses the light they are in sudden darkness. While the speaker of “Acquainted with the Night” is familiar with the night, his surroundings are on the whole extremely far off, and, in the sonnet, he has no companions or family. He keeps away from the gatekeeper who acts as the secondary protagonist. He hears a cry; however, the poem turns out to be significantly more desolate and confined when he mirrors that the cry isn’t for him. It appears that the speaker is familiar with the night, however he isn’t companions with anything in this world. In the following quote the moon symbolizes the luminary clock against the sky and with the protagonist constantly looking to foresee what time it is, the growing of his loneliness shows how he is acquainted with the night. “And further still at an unearthly height, one luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.” (Frost pg. 503, Lines 11-13). All of these symbols connect with each other to form the true theme of this poem is that running away from conflicts will only cause confusion and possibly the loss of others surrounding you which means no one’s there to support nor comfort you when needed. The description of the moon as a “cloak against the sky” implies a few things. As a symbol of our perception of time, the moon both spans and divides the past and the present. In this way, the personified moon verifies and proclaims itself, as a symbol of the self-verification sought by the persona. But Frost sets the plan askew in a certain word choice. The persona looks to the moon and its luminescence in consolation and in seeking a response to the “interrupted cry.” (Frost pg. 503 Line 9) He supposes the moon is in contrast to the surrounding darkness. But because the moon “Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right,”(Frost pg. 503 Line 13) the persona realizes that the alluring moon and its inability to breach his own ambivalence is adjoined to and part of the darkness. (add research here)
Sandra Cisneros “The House on Mango Street” is about Esperanza Cordero, a girl living in Chicago struggling to find her own identity. She neglects living in a culture where women are considered inferior to men. Looking around her she tries to figure out what her own personal identity is with especially after moving into a new house where she did not feel so comfortable. In the following quote Esperanza shows disgust towards the name given to her at birth; “In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing” (need to see if I can use the whole text instead of partial text)
“Araby” by James Joyce, presents us how loneliness comes from the environment we will in and people around us. The type of loneliness that James Joyce describes is very significant towards the main character because he experiences loneliness from his own feelings such as frustration and anger. Our protagonist’s isolation can be found within the following quote; “Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration.” (Joyce pg. 298). In this story, one fact that resembles into loneliness is that he never shares any of his feelings concerning Mangan’s sister (that lives across from the main character) with anyone because he is very obsessed with her beauty and seems to be embarrassed to share his feelings with anyone. By doing this, he isolates himself from his friends that seem young to him once his crush begins. This obsession that overcomes the narrator himself as well as his mind did not join together to create love or happiness. “Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance.” (Joyce pg. 297) With the use of imagery, the narrator keeps imagining Mangan’s sister, which prevents him from sleeping. Buying her a gift became his number one priority and his own imagination exceeded his expectations. After going to the Araby, the narrator realized that the short conversation he had with Mangan’s sister meant nothing; she would not care whether or not he brought her back something from there or not. When he left the bazaar on his own, he became disappointed and angry with himself because the imagination he had between the two of them did not come true while facing reality. The language of the passage suggests that unconsciously, from the boy’s point of view, two warring services conducted in the marketplace: the world’s materialistic service in worship of mammon, and the boy’s holy service in worship of his mild madonna.
“I’ve eaten a bag of green apples, Boarded the train there’s no getting off” (Line 8,9 Plath pg. 452) This quote means that there is no turning back for the protagonist as she has no control of her future and has passed the first month of pregnancy not knowing what to expect. The length of the train represents the length of her pregnancy because of the number of carts it contained, which was nine. “I’m a riddle in nine syllables, An elephant, a ponderous house” (Line 1,2 Plath pg. 452) The nine syllables and the elephant are similar to each other with the nine syllables representing the nine months of her pregnancy and the elephant would be considered her size because of how a woman looks when they are nine months pregnant. Without leaving the important information or representation, the protagonist is on her own living within her house waiting for the baby to be born.
(Three literary devices for this paper with the theme of identity time and isolation: more than 1 for each paragraph to make it stand out)