By: Edgar Allan Poe

Melanie Sandler

Ms. King

10th Lit. Comp.



The Poem, Alone, by Edgar Allan Poe openly discusses the isolated perspective of a man who feels a consistent agony. The speaker writes that his loneliness stems from his childhood. From a young age, he has been emotionally segregated from the people that he comes in contact with. He visualizes ideas differently from others and does not feel the same, plentiful passions that others experience. His sadness is relentless and he feels unable to fathom the happiness that others feel. From the beginning of his childhood an ungraspable mystery arose from the his life, which he describes as "...stormy..." (Poe 10). He writes that the mystery stemmed from various descriptive locations including a fountain's stream, a mountain's cliff, the animated sun, swift lightning, thunder, and a storm. The narrator concludes by examining how the sky appeared blue, but was obstructed by a "...demon in my view" (Poe 22). The writer bluntly expresses the disheartening sentiments that he has encountered.


Alone is an emotional, narrative poem in which a man recalls his disappointing past and the solitude he feels from those that surround him. He recalls how he was unable to feel the emotions others conveyed as well as the passions they experienced. The speaker expresses a sorrowful tone, which is frankly shown throughout the poem. The author displays this in his direct statement, " I have not been As others were" (Poe 1). The narrator forms his ideas in the first person and in the past tense, as the thoughts are reflections of his childhood. His thoughts are spoken directly to the reader and can be trusted, as he his speaking about internal conflicts. A person who reads this poem aloud should consider the desolate, forlorn tone that the author communicates.


Alone consists of a single stanza containing twenty-two lines. The form of the poem displays how the author is trying to convey a single central idea. The lone theme that is expressed does not require more than one stanza to be communicated. The poem would be classified as "free form" because it does not follow an established structure. The unestablished structure allows the author to convey his message in a candid fashion.

The movement of the poem involves a list of ideas that assist in telling of the events recalled in the poem. The poem begins by stating simple perceptions that the author believes about his past, and progressively discusses the effects of his socially withdrawn personality.


The diction in the poem is both simple and unusual. The speaker articulates his ideas in an uncomplicated manner such as, "I have not seen As others saw..." (Poe 2). The word choice is uncomplicated in the beginning, and becomes more unfamiliar as it progresses. The language becomes more peculiar and scattered, which leaves opportunities for the reader to interpret the piece.

Multiple forms of imagery are exhibited in the poem. The author uses devices such as personification to reveal how concepts can dictate his emotions. The narrator writes that he is troubled by "...a mystery which binds me still" (Poe 12), which serves to emphasize how inanimate entities can pester him. The poem additionally conveys the idea of a metaphorical demon that the speaker faces. He witnesses a dreadful and upsetting being, while others see that "...the rest of heaven was blue" (Poe 21).The metaphor of a "demon" represents the internal emotions that badger the speaker and make him feel isolated.

Rhyme Scheme

The narrator organizes his ideas with a consistent rhyming pattern in which two consecutive lines rhyme. The rhyme scheme evokes a formal tone that correlates with the despairing tone of the poem. The author writes, "From the same source I have not taken My sorrow-- I could not awaken" (Poe 5), as one of the several instances in which two consecutive lines rhyme.

Historical Context

Edgar Allan Poe lived from 1809 to 1849. His parents died before he reached the mere age of three. Poe faced a plethora of difficulties in his life, many of which, were financial. He acquired a vast amount of debt through attending the University of Virginia. Additionally, while certain works of his became popular during his lifetime, he faced ample financial insecurity. His financial problems spiraled until he could no longer support himself. He severed his relationships with others by becoming a harsh writing critic, that judged many renowned writer's work. Furthermore, during his life he experienced misfortunes including his wife's death as well as his parent's. The poem, Alone, was not published during Poe's lifetime.

Work Cited

"Alone by Edgar Allan Poe -" Poestories. N.p., 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.

"Poe's Life." Poe's Life. N.p., 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.