Old Familiar Faces Critical Analysis Essay

The Old Familiar Faces by Charles Lamb
Charles lamb conveys regret in the Old familiar faces, by exploring the ideas about friendship, loneliness and loss. The constant use of past tense tells the readers that his happy memories were all in the past, and now when he has lost everything, he is starting to feel regret for being ungrateful. The overall tone of the poem is mournful, and he emphasizes his loneliness by contrasting his reality with his cheerful past.
Structure
he stanzas seem to follow a progression of value in terms of friends. He goes from childhood companions and memories, to his drinking buddies, to his sister or loved one, to his best friend. This progression of thought creates an exhaustive list of all those he had lost in his life, to give us a feeling that he had lost everything.
The repetition of three is very important in this poem, each stanza has three lines, and each word never repeats the same letter more than three times. This implies that his family will never become full again, they can never have three people in his family again, as his sister killed their mother. However, in the third and fourth stanza, the repetition has been broken.
The repetition of “All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.” Puts emphasis on the fact that everyone is his life has left him. It makes him feel abandoned. The all is repeated twice to give us a sense that everything is completely lost. If we look at the poem graphically, the last line is always indented to show a sense of mourning, as he knows his life will never become whole again. The indentation serves as a gap in his life and how it can never become full again without the old familiar faces. It also tells us that it is the only thing the poet can ever think about it. It is constantly on his mind and it is haunting him.


Diction
Everything is described using past tense with words such as “had” or “have been”. This tells us that he’s contrasting his past with his reality. He was happy and...

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I have had playmates, I have had companions,

In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,

All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,

Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies,

All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a love once, fairest among women;

Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her —

All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;

Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;

Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

Ghost-like, I paced round the haunts of my childhood.

Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse,

Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,

Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling?

So might we talk of the old familiar faces —

How some they have died, and some they have left me,

And some are taken from me; all are departed;

All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

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