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How does Robert Lowell portray anguish and frustration with struggling to write in his poem Night Sweat?

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Introduction

Night Sweat By Robert Lowell How does Robert Lowell portray anguish and frustration with struggling to write in his poem ‘Night Sweat’? ‘Night Sweat’ by Robert Lowell is an emotional poem in which the poet focuses on the anguish and frustration he feels whilst struggling to write. The poet uses imagery, enjambment, imagery and monologue style writing, to explain his self-doubt and anxiety when he has writer’s block. Firstly, the poet uses imagery to illustrate his anguish caused by his writer’s block. This is evident in line 4 and 5, when he says, “Sweet salt embalms me and my head is wet, everything streams and tells me this is right”. ...read more.

Middle

This is apparent when he says, “everything streams”. This may mean that his sweating is so profuse, it creates the sense of waterflow. It is obvious that Lowell had so much pressure on his writing and perhaps numerous deadlines to meet in a short span of time, that he was so overwhelmed by all of it. This will make the reader feel empathetic towards the speaker as they realize how tragic his anxiety is. Additionally, the use of enjambment here, carries the ominous sense of this line on to the others, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere for the readers as they understand how intense the writer’s anguish is. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would be understandable as Lowell had been suffering from bipolar disorder or “manic depression” throughout his adult life. This poem is a perfect representation of how this disorder was heavily affecting his life. Overall, this poem is brutally personal and really shows us how much Lowell was going through. From the way he explains what he sees and what he feels, it is clear as day that Lowell had so much going on in his life. Although he was a poetic genius, he had so much trauma and hardships in his life. He himself said, 'Poetry can come out of utterly miserable or disorderly lives, as in the case of a Rimbaud or a Hart Crane. But to make the poems possible a huge amount of health has to go into the misery.' ...read more.

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