I found the poem “Alone” to be very self-indulgent and the work of a person that is both his own self saboteur, and the work of a person that enjoys the comfort of being miserable. It was hardly a surprise to me, as Edgar Allan Poe did seemingly invent the goth craze that still exists today. Here is how I came to that conclusion.
The poem “Alone” may be a creative work, but it pays to consider the history of the writer in order to put his thoughts into context. He was born into a family of traveling actors and as a result, they were very poor. Edgar’s father left the family and his career as an actor, whereupon his mother died, shortly followed by his father. Both of his parents died of tuberculosis, leaving him and his brother and sister orphans. Edgar was adopted by the Allans, where he got his middle name.
Edgar got into a little college debt and refused to talk to his foster parents after they denied his pleas for money. Edgar now had no money, no job and no family, so he began writing short stories. He was pretty bad at it and made no money. In 1831, Edgar wrote the poem “Alone.”
“Alone” is a story about Edgar’s childhood and his future. He was a punk kid that was very self-involved, very selfish, lazy, and felt as if the world owed him a debt and all of this was reflected in his poem. You can see how self-indulgent his misery is, and how he has a “woe is me” attitude about the future as if he is the only person to ever suffer hardships.
His poem is about how loneliness feels. It is a very negative poem that also allows the reader to indulge in feelings of depression and sorrow. It is ideal for the type of person that enjoys the comfort that misery brings.
The first five stanzas are mostly an effort to make the reader believe that Edgar is special in the way that he himself thinks he is special. He is so self-involved and wrapped up in his own life that he honestly thinks his feels, thoughts and interests are new. He doesn’t have the empathy or awareness to realize that his thoughts, feelings and emotions are the same as everybody else. He thinks he is different and therefore feels alone, whereas if he were not so self-involved, he would have realized he is the same as everybody else. It shows he has a dramatic amount of self-delusion and ignorance about the people around him. He is not special or different, but he spends the first five stanzas trying to convince you that he is and that his misery is therefore justified.
This sense of self-delusion and ignorance then moves on into stanza’s six, seven and eight, where he whines that he has no friends, no connection with other people, and where he doesn’t have to share. His ignorance of others comes out even further where he shows almost sociopathic behavior, which is not uncommon for people that have been suddenly separated from their families at an early age.
Stanzas nine up to twelve are mostly made up of Edgar whining about his life and the misery he feels. It makes it appear as if he has had nothing but misery, whereas really it is obvious that for every good thing that happens he somehow creates and/or focuses on something bad so that he is unable to have what many would call good luck or good fortune. He is the creator of his own misery through his massive focus on the negative over the positive–even when something positive happens. Stanzas thirteen to twenty has a similar theme, but he also talks of the changing seasons and how quickly time is passing and brining him more misery.
The final two stanzas are mostly Edgar talking about how he will never find happiness, which is true if you interpret his words. He is clearly his own life saboteur and is able to turn every positive experience into a negative one. His prediction is a self-fulfilling prophecy. He has no intention of living a happy life because he enjoys being miserable so much. He again shows his ignorance of the world around him by saying how nice and full of color it is where his is dark and nasty–not realizing that his life and his world are just as bright as other people’s is dark.