Being Acquainted With The Night, And Being Acquainted With Death

Being Acquainted With The Night, And Being Acquainted With Death

The narrator is still someone who is "acquainted with the night," someone who is ready for death, no matter when or how it comes. He is at peace in ways that I even envy, in ways that allow him to live freely, one day at a time, not worrying about what tomorrow and the future hold.

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"I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light."

In this article, I will unpack and apply another Robert Frost classic, "Acquainted with the Night." It is one of the saddest Robert Frost poems, one that is very often interpreted to deal with issues like depression and suicide. "I have been one acquainted with the night," indicates a person familiar with the night's darkness, of having a lack of light present in their lives. The sun may also rise, but at the end of the day, darkness and the night will win. The night means death, and is an acknowledgment that all of us will one day die, and be acquainted with the night. To be acquainted with the night means to be acquainted with death.

The narrator next says that "I have walked out in rain - and back in rain," suggesting that he has been through a fair deal of horror in his life. Chilly detached, he has found darkness, and perpetual darkness almost everywhere he goes, almost numbed to the "furthest city light." The narrator's adverse circumstances show that any further circumstance means nothing to him, that he has been through so much that he is numb, and almost immune to anything else that may phase him. He is at peace, much more so than any person we know.

"I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain."

The narrator further compounds upon his weary peace, that he has been through "the saddest city lane." Emotions like guilt and shame are pervasive in his mind, as any person he walks past, like the watchman, is "unwilling to explain" these emotions. He drops his eyes constantly, staring down at the ground that there are no explanations for the situation or behavior that the narrator finds himself in.

"I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,"

It may be a misinterpretation, but I read that the narrator is somewhat of a pariah, a person that stops the sound of feet when he passes people by. He has been through some obscene tragedy that others cannot possibly comprehend, and thus try to avoid. I read him almost like protagonist Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea, who witnesses and is partially responsible for his two children dying in a house fire.

There is a voice that beckons at the narrator, that transcends houses and distance. The voice is a cry, that has strong emotion behind the urge, even if we don't know what it says. The voice doesn't want the narrator to take his life or just die. He is one acquainted with the night. He lives as if he's already dead.

"But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky"

The voice doesn't tell the narrator to change anything, for the voice does not "call me back or say good-bye." It is a voice that urges the narrator to press on and keep living with the status quo, as painful as it may be, and as much as the narrator himself may not want to keep on going on.

The luminary clock against the sky is the only light we see in this poem, the only light in the middle of the night. It is almost holy or biblical, what the narrator looks to for guidance, as it isn't of the Earth. It is at an unearthly height, symbolizing almost heaven, but to say so is a stretch. The final two lines proceed like this:

"Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

I have been one acquainted with the night.

The world of the luminary clock at the unearthly height beckon at the narrator, but not yet. Maybe he could go to it, because the time is not wrong. But it's also not right, and that may mean that Robert Frost meant to impart a message that death never happens at a wrong time, nor a right time. It happens arbitrarily, when we expect it least.

The narrator is still someone who is "acquainted with the night," someone who is ready for death, no matter when or how it comes. He is at peace in ways that I even envy, in ways that allow him to live freely, one day at a time, not worrying about what tomorrow and the future hold. And so I say that I, too am one acquainted with the night. And that gives me the freedom to live without fear, with hope.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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