‘Solitude’ is one of several poems that the poet wrote about the characters from his Winnie-the-Pooh books. It is for these works and the major stories/books based on the characters that Milne is best-remembered. His son was famously the inspiration for the character of Christopher Robin and his stuffed animals, the inspiration for the other characters. In the illustration for this particular poem, which was published in Now We Are Six, there is a little boy, presumably, Christopher Robin, sitting by himself in nature next to a small wheel barrel and under three crossed sticks in the shape of a teepee.
Summary of Solitude
This “house” is somewhere that no one can spend time but him. It’s in a position far enough from his real home that he doesn’t have to listen to anyone else talk. When he needs to get away from all the voices in his home he goes there for some peace and quiet. While there, he is in total control of his small world. The short lines of this poem are full of rhyme and rhythm and were written to be relatable to a young audience reading or hearing them read aloud.
You can read the full poem here.
Structure of Solitude
‘Solitude’ by A.A. Milne is a simple, eight-line poem that is contained within one short stanza of text. The lines are all very similar in length as well, ranging from five syllables to eight. There is a great deal of repetition in this poem, making the direct subject matter easier to understand and benefit the overall rhyme and rhythm of the lines.
The lines follow a rhyme scheme of ABACAAAC. The “A” rhyme is perfect throughout the poem. Milne even uses the same word “go” at the end of three different lines, a technique known as identical rhyme. There are also examples of internal rhyme with “no” and “go”.
Literary Devices in Solitude
Milne uses several literary devices in ‘Solitude’. These include but are not limited to alliteration, enjambment, and anaphora. As mentioned above, repetition is one of the most important literary devices at work in ‘Solitude’. It can be seen specifically through the use of anaphora. It is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of multiple lines, usually in succession. This technique is often used to create emphasis. A list of phrases, items, or actions may be created through its implementation. For example, “I have a” at the start of lines one, three, and five. “Where” is another example. It begins lines six and seven.
Alliteration occurs when words are used in succession, or at least appear close together, and begin with the same sound. For example, “have” and “house” in lines one, three, and five, as well as “nobody” and “no” in lines six and seven. Enjambment occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point. Enjambment forces a reader down to the next line, and the next, quickly. One has to move forward in order to comfortably resolve a phrase or sentence. For example, the transition between lines one and two as well as between lines three and four.
Analysis of Solitude
I have a house where I go
Where no one can be;
In the first four lines of ‘Solitude’ the speaker, presumably, Christopher Robin uses first-person pronouns to describe where he goes when there are “too many people”. He seeks out solitude on occasion when there is just too much going on. It is depicted in these lines as something desirable, where one can be by themselves, in charge of everything that happens. The perfect rhymes in these lines in addition to simple language and diction make this poem easy to read. It is perfect for a young reader to comprehend. There are perfect rhymes, but there are also identical rhymes, such as “go” in lines one, three, and five.
This kind of repetition is continued with words like “house,” “no one,” and “no”.
I have a house where I go,
There is no one but me.
In the next four lines of ‘Solitude,’ the speaker repeats the refrain, “I have a house where I go”. This creates a sing-song-like rhythm to the lines. It also takes on the feeling of a mantra. This child always has this “house” in nature to return to when things get too overwhelming at home. They’re able to remake what a home can be and how much control they have over it.