"Laugh, And The World Laughs With You"

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 152

Context: Ella Wheeler Wilcox's repeated theme in the poem "Solitude" is the loneliness that accompanies the misfortunes of life. The poet says that all mankind has its share of misery and unhappiness, but that each person will gladly share someone else's moment of joy. The idea of the world being inconsiderate of the sufferings of the individual is tempered with the thought that the world "has trouble enough of its own." The poet moves from broad generalities to more specific examples. First using "the world" and "the sad old earth," the poet changes to more personal terms–"men" and "your friends." The concluding stanza depicts man in his final inescapable solitude: ". . . no man can help you die." The poem opens with the following lines:

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Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone,
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

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