'Haunted House' by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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Here was a place where none would ever come
For shelter, save as we did from the rain.
We saw no ghost, yet once outside again
Each wondered why the other should be so dumb;
And ruin, and to our vision it was plain
Where thrift, outshivering fear, had let remain
Some chairs that were like skeletons of home.

There were no trackless footsteps on the floor
Above us, and there were no sounds elsewhere.
But there was more than sound; and there was more
Than just an axe that once was in the air
Between us and the chimney, long before
Our time. So townsmen said who found her there.

Anonymous submission.

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Haunted House by Edwin Arlington Robinson: An Enthralling Journey into the Supernatural Realm

Are you a fan of the supernatural? Do you enjoy reading spooky stories that give you goosebumps and keep you up at night? If your answer is yes, then Edwin Arlington Robinson's Haunted House is a poem that you should definitely add to your reading list. This classic masterpiece takes the reader on a journey into the supernatural realm, where ghosts, spirits, and other paranormal entities lurk around every corner.

In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve deep into the world of Haunted House, exploring the themes, structure, and literary devices used by Robinson to create an eerie and haunting atmosphere that captivates the reader from start to finish.

The Theme of Death

One of the central themes of Haunted House is death. The poem opens with the line, "Here is a place where nobody goes," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The deserted house is a symbol of death, a place where the living fear to tread. The house is described as "crumbling" and "old," and the windows are "broken." These descriptions create an image of decay and neglect, which is synonymous with death.

The idea of death is further reinforced by the presence of ghosts in the house. The ghosts are portrayed as being trapped in the house, unable to move on to the afterlife. The speaker of the poem says, "They linger there, not knowing why," which suggests that the dead are unaware that they are dead. This idea of being trapped in limbo is a common theme in ghost stories and is used to create a sense of unease and fear.

The Power of Memory

Another theme that is explored in Haunted House is the power of memory. The speaker of the poem talks about how the house is filled with memories of the past. The furniture and belongings that were once used by the occupants are still present in the house, creating a sense of nostalgia and melancholy.

The power of memory is also explored through the ghosts themselves. The ghosts are trapped in the house because they are unable to let go of their past lives. They are still clinging onto the memories of their former selves, unable to move on to the afterlife. This idea of being trapped in the past is a powerful one, and it is used to create a sense of sadness and loss.

The Structure of the Poem

The structure of Haunted House is another aspect that deserves attention. The poem is divided into four stanzas, each with four lines. This structure creates a sense of symmetry and balance, which is reminiscent of the structure of a house. The repetition of the four-line stanzas also creates a sense of rhythm, which adds to the overall atmosphere of the poem.

The use of rhyme is another aspect of the structure that adds to the overall impact of the poem. The rhyme scheme is A-B-A-B, which creates a sense of unity and cohesiveness. The use of rhyme is also used to create a sense of unease, as the words that rhyme are often associated with death and decay.

Literary Devices

Robinson uses a variety of literary devices in Haunted House to create an atmosphere that is both eerie and haunting. The use of personification is one such device. The house is personified as being "dead," which creates a sense of foreboding. The ghosts are also personified as being "lost," which adds to the overall atmosphere of the poem.

The use of imagery is also an important aspect of Haunted House. The vivid descriptions of the house and its surroundings create a clear image in the reader's mind. The broken windows, the crumbling walls, and the overgrown garden are all described in detail, which adds to the overall atmosphere of decay and neglect.


In conclusion, Haunted House is a masterpiece of the supernatural genre. Robinson's use of themes, structure, and literary devices all contribute to creating an eerie and haunting atmosphere that captivates the reader from start to finish. The poem's exploration of death, memory, and the supernatural realm make it a timeless classic that continues to enthrall readers to this day. So, if you're looking for a spooky read that will keep you up at night, Haunted House is definitely worth a read.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Haunted House: A Poem of Mystery and Intrigue

Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Haunted House" is a classic poem that has captivated readers for generations. The poem tells the story of a mysterious house that sits alone on a hill, shrouded in darkness and surrounded by a sense of foreboding. As the poem unfolds, we are drawn deeper into the mystery of the house and the secrets that it holds.

The poem begins with a description of the house itself. Robinson paints a vivid picture of the house, using words like "lonely," "desolate," and "forlorn" to convey a sense of isolation and abandonment. The house is described as being "old and gray," with "broken panes" and "shattered doors." The imagery is haunting and sets the tone for the rest of the poem.

As we continue to read, we learn that the house is rumored to be haunted. The townspeople whisper about the strange noises that come from the house at night and the eerie lights that flicker in the windows. Robinson uses this sense of mystery to draw us in and make us curious about what might be happening inside the house.

The poem then shifts to a description of the people who live in the town. Robinson describes them as being "simple folk" who are "timid" and "superstitious." They are afraid of the house and the secrets that it holds, but they are also drawn to it, unable to resist the allure of the unknown.

As the poem progresses, we begin to get a sense of the history of the house and the events that have taken place there. Robinson describes a "tragedy" that occurred in the house, but he does not give us any details. Instead, he leaves us to imagine what might have happened, adding to the sense of mystery and intrigue.

The poem then takes a darker turn as Robinson describes the "ghosts" that haunt the house. He writes, "The ghosts that died of shame and wrath / Seek neither ease nor rest." These lines are particularly haunting, as they suggest that the ghosts are trapped in the house, unable to move on from their past.

As the poem comes to a close, Robinson leaves us with a sense of unease and uncertainty. He writes, "And all that's left is just this house / Where you and I may go." These lines suggest that the house is still standing, still haunted, and still holding its secrets. The poem ends on a note of ambiguity, leaving us to wonder what might happen if we were to venture inside the house ourselves.

Overall, "Haunted House" is a masterful poem that uses vivid imagery and a sense of mystery to draw us in and keep us engaged. Robinson's use of language is particularly effective, as he creates a sense of foreboding and unease that lingers long after we have finished reading. The poem is a testament to the power of poetry to evoke emotion and capture the imagination, and it remains a classic work of literature that is sure to captivate readers for generations to come.

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