The poem “The Lighted Window” by Sara Teasdale is about an adult who passes a store that brings back memories of his childhood. The shift in tone is where first and second stanzas break. The first chunk is when the speaker notices the store and begins to flashback to when he was younger. The speaker is put back into the shoes of his childhood and emotionally feels like a boy again with the images of candy and toys. After the break, the speaker suddenly realizes that all the memories are childish and decides to walk away, back into the rain and cold. The speaker’s realization seems abrupt and depressing but also realistic.
Teasdale repeats the phrase “In the winter dusk/ the pavements were gleaming with rain” most likely to have the audience read them differently after the rest of the poem has been identified. Although the phrases are the same, they are used differently to show the contrast from when the speaker arrived to when he left. The speaker’s main idea in the poem is that although there was a brief distraction, the real world still exists and he knew he could not live in that fantasy forever. The fact that the phrase is repeated shows that nothing has changed from the time he arrived at the store to the time he left it just as he returned to adulthood. It may not be as carefree as his childhood but he is no longer in that time of his life. The imagery in this poem is most predominating, because the speaker focuses his attention on the environment in the store. The best way to describe this flashback is through the use of imagery to get a clear idea of the speaker’s feelings and emotions.