What was Edgar Allan Poe's purpose for writing "Alone"? For whom did he write it and what was he going through when he wrote it? 

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Alone" was never published during his lifetime. He wrote it in 1829 and, as a young man, was experiencing intense, conflicted feelings about his childhood and family life. He had a foster father who barely provided for him, debts as a result of his studies, and a fiancee who had, unbeknownst to him and in his absence, become engaged to another man. He desperately wanted to be a poet but for financial reasons found himself enlisted in the US army. This poem, therefore, seems to reveal his struggle and feelings of abandonment and could have been an outlet for his frustrations. 

Having recognized that he is different from others, Poe examines the possible causes of his feelings. They start early in his childhood - "from childhood's hour" - and Poe suggests that, despite his best efforts, he cannot relish the same things that other people enjoy; he feels only sadness. He does not have a positive outlook, which stems from his "stormy life," and this sets him apart so that those things which do bring him pleasure, "I lov'd alone." Even Poe does not understand himself and this poem is perhaps an attempt to rationalize his feelings and get a better sense of himself and "the mystery which binds me still." 

Poe is self-aware as he does know that when everyone else is admiring such natural beauty as "the autumn tint of gold," or other naturally occurring phenomena, he is too focused on the negative aspects and the "demon" which invades his thoughts. In the storm he sees the "cloud" even though there is a glimpse of "Heaven." These are the feelings that make him feel so alone because he is the only one experiencing them and noone understands him or his perspective.