What is the meaning of the poem "Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe and how does it relate specifically to Poe?
"Alone" was written when Poe wasn't yet the renowned author he came to be. He wrote this poem when he was only twenty, after a particularly tough year. He had faced quite a bit of literary rejection during this time, and his foster mother also died this year. He had already lost his birth mother and had no contact with his biological father, so he was feeling pretty lonely in the world.
This sense of solitude is reflected in "Alone":
I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I loved—I loved alone—
Poe's use of the em dash in these lines and throughout the poem represents a sense of brokenness pervading his early life. With little faith in or support from the adults around him, he is left constantly trying to "awaken / [His] heart to joy" and failing. He cannot do it. He loves "alone," without his biological mother or father.
In the beginning lines, the reader is also made aware of Poe's tendencies toward the eccentric (assuming the speaker is Poe representing his own thoughts, not an imagined persona). He opens with these lines:
From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—
Poe has never been like other people, not even as a young child. He has always been interested in things that do not interest other people and sees the world differently. Considering the subject matter of his work (e.g., a man who murders a neighbor because of his evil eye, a man who narrowly escapes death by a swinging scythe, a raven who taunts a...
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