TONE, DICTION AND POINT OF VIEW:
The tone, or voice of Nightfall is not dissimilar to that of its companion poem Barn Owl. Both are, first person narratives but here we sense that one, much closer to the poet herself perhaps. The diction of this poem is even loftier and more formal than that of the previous poem. The subject matter is weighty; the impending death of a parent, and the diction is correspondingly serious. The sustained allusion to King Lear is an effective one. The notion of the aged father being an old king is a persuasive one that lends him considerable dignity, a sense of decayed greatness and faltering authority.
The extended metaphor of life as a journey is the predominant image in this poem. Images of Genesis, of the father as God, are called up. Another consistent image is that of the father as an old king, Since this is a poem about loss, grief and sadness, tears are also important.
The poem has a nature, conversational feel, due to its given structure.
Nightfall is a poem about maturity, while Barn Owl is a poem about immaturity. In Barn Owl we witness a young child coming to knowledge in a terrible way through death, while in Nightfall we see a middle age person come to the knowledge in a natural way, through thinking of the death of her father. All death is change, and both poems examine the changing states of an individual at important times in her life.