Face solitude right in the evil eye;
It stares at you and never says a word.
It makes you cringe, regret, deny, defy –
The more it lasts, the stronger it may hurt.
But we did reconcile long ago;
It takes me where I’d never dare to go.
The given sonnet follows the tradition of English sonnet writing. It has seven lines, the ABAB CCC rhyme scheme, and its meter can be defined as iambic pentameter, with five masculine rhymes. The poem consists of one quatrain and two rhymed lines. It is remarkable that in the Italian tradition, the structure of the poem would have been different, with a tercet instead of two lines at the end; the English tradition, however, presupposes that the tercet should be replaced by two lines.
Speaking of the content of the sonnet, the specifics of the era must be mentioned. In the XXI century, being left long even for a moment is hardly possible – no matter where one goes, the beeping of a mobile phone or a voice mail notification will always let one know that there are millions of people around waiting for a conversation to start. Moreover, many people, in fact, are afraid of being left alone (Grant 1223).
The idea that a lot of people fear solitude, however, begs the question whether being alone can actually have positive results on a person. In both modern and ancient literature, there are many examples of the lead characters having a great revelation when they finally find time to look into their soul; however, there are even more examples of the characters who go mad once taking a glance into the depth of their psychics.
The choice of the rhyme, number of lines and structure as the means of expression was deliberate. To emphasize the significance of the phenomenon, as well as the effect that loneliness has on different people, it was required to use very short and concise phrases.
Thus, the depressing atmosphere of solitude, which most people experience as they are left to face their own demons and lead an inner dialogue, has been created. The fact that the poem was split into a quatrain and two additional lines also contributes to conveying the poem innuendoes to the reader.
While in the first part, angst comes into the foreground, along with anxiety, the second part of the sonnet displays a relatively calmer attitude towards the idea of being lonely. Thus, the meter of the sonnet allows for creating a psychological mini drama, in which the lead character undergoes a transformation from a psychologically troubled and far-stricken creature to its enlightened, though, perhaps, even more insane, new self.
On the one hand, an inner dialog is admittedly a moment of truth. On the other hand, for a number of people, sweeping their fears and manias under the rug is the only way to stay sane and, therefore, revisiting these fears means making a huge step back in fighting them.
Once reminded of, nightmares are most likely to return, which means that the moment of solitude has been drastic for the person in question. Allowing the reader to spot the duality of the nature of solitude, the given poem raises a number of questions regarding not only human nature in general, but also the nature of the reader’s self, therefore, making the reader figure out whether the reader should also try exploring the depth of his/her subconscious.
Grant, Arthur G. “No Loneliness of His Face.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 27.9 (2012), 1223–1224. Print.