Bereft Commentary

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The poem, ‘Bereft' by Robert Frost, describes a night in the life of a lonely man. The line "Summer was past and day was passed." (6) designates that it is the end of the day and that summer has gone, giving way to autumn. However, this line also encourages the reader to think that the speaker is of a certain age, as the end of day can be interpreted as the end of a person's life. The title, "Bereft" indicates that he has lost someone, leaving him "…alone" (15) in his life. There is no evidence to suggest that the speaker is either female or male, nor is there any reason to doubt that the poet is the speaker. The poem is written in sixteen lines, in which ideas are expressed mainly through metaphors. The speaker is very aware of sounds and movement around him, as one would be if alone. He believes that nature has orchestrated a "sinister … tone" (11), because the secret of his loneliness has been discovered: "…my secret must be known"(12). It seems to the speaker that nature is taking advantage of his solitude and attempting to intimidate him with its "roar[ing]" (2) winds, its "somber clouds" (7) and its "sagging floor" (8). The tone that is created at the beginning of the poem is an almost frightening one, as all the details of the dark night are listed. A shift is present at line 12, where the speaker announces that he has discovered why nature is suddenly being so unkind: "…my secret must be known…" (12) After the shift, the tone of the poem becomes more melancholic and lonely as the poet writes "… I was in my life alone" (15-16). An example of imagery in the poem appears when the speaker compares the leaves twirling in the wind to a snake: "Leaves got up in a coil and hissed" (9). This use of imagery emphasizes the overall personification of nature that the author wishes to create. The vocabulary used in this poem is conversational, which enables more emphasis to be placed on the imagery rather than on the words. The repetition of...
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