Robert through the imagery of many of his

Robert through the imagery of many of his

Robert Frost is often referred to as a poet of nature. Words and phrases such asfire and ice, flowers in bloom, apple orchards and rolling hills, are allimportant elements of Frost’s work. Remove them and something more than symbolsare taken away. These benign’ objects provide an alternative way to look atthe world and are often used as metaphors to describe a darker view of natureand humans. In Frost’s poetry, the depth is as important as the surface.

Thedarker aspects of Frost’s poetry are often portrayed through the use ofsymbolism, vivid imagery, and selective word choice. Frost’s poems appear to besimple on the surface, yet upon further scrutiny the poems reveal themselves aselusive. Frost utilizes ordinary objects to create a deeper meaning.

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Forexample, the poem “Mending Wall”, appears to be about the differencesbetween two neighbors and their ideas on rebuilding a wall. On the other hand,the wall may be viewed, in a more general sense, as a symbol to represent allthe antagonistic or mistrustful barriers that divide man from man. “Thegaps I mean / No one has seen them made or heard them made / But at springmending-time we find them there” (lines 9-11), illustrates the point thatpeople become separated without even realizing it because we become so caught upin what is happening in our own lives. The darkness, held within the aforementioned quotation, is the feeling of sadness. The fact that we do not takenotice of one another creates a place that becomes more and more divided bydifferences. Likewise, the poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” seems torepresent the change of seasons. But further analysis reveals that the speakeris also paralleling the cycles of life with the change in seasons.

“So dawngoes down to day” (7) illustrates that in life as in nature, golden momentsfade away. “Then leaf subsides to leaf” (5) implies autumn, when theleaves begin to turn gold and fall to the ground. The color gold represents theend of life, whereas green represents new life. The poem also illustrates theloss of innocence.

As the seasons change, life progresses and innocence can nolonger be sustained. Autumn represents death. The changes in the color of theleaves are often viewed as beautiful even though it marks the end of a season.The end to human life creates overwhelming feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.Death, for some people, is a taboo subject. People are not overly comfortablediscussing death because of the emotions evoked. Yet, Frost has the ability tocreate an awareness of the subject by using the beauty of nature as a filter.

Frost’s darker side is also prevalent through the imagery of many of his poems.For example, the title of the poem “Desert Places”, stimulates imagesof loneliness, feelings of abandonment, and a general sense of isolation. Theword “desert” is often associated with harsh living conditions and aplace devoid of life. The word it’, in “The woods around it have ititis theirs” (5), refers to the field and suggests that the field is justthere.

The animals are absent too – “smothered in their lairs” (6).The speaker is “too absent-spirited” (7) to matter. Thus, without thecare of man and without the animals the field is deserted, desolated, andlonely.

The closing line “To scare myself with my own desert places”(16), examines the manner in which people often fail to get in contact withaspects of their personalities which are undesirable or difficult to admit. Forexample, the constant struggle between one’s inner feelings and the acceptedsocial norms. “Desert places” also suggests that people have darknesswithin themselves. The absence of a meaningful self or lack of self-esteem maycreate feelings of isolation. “Stopping by Woods on a Snow evening”,also illustrates a dark complexity to Frost’s works. The poem captures images ofloneliness and indecisiveness by selective word choice. For instance,”woods” are sometimes connected with the unknown, darkness andisolation.

The speaker also uses phrases such as, “darkest evening”and “frozen lake” to solidify the mood of aloneness. The speaker isriding into the darkness on an unknown journey, only to find himself caught”between the woods and frozen lake” (7). The speaker is caught betweenold patterns and new possibilities.

The “woods” represent theunfamiliar while the “frozen lake” represents the familiar. Thespeaker contemplates the decision he must make: “The woods are lovely,dark, and deep, / But I have promises to keep” (13-14). The speaker’sjourney has come to an end and he decides to return to the life that he hasalways known. The speaker is afraid to venture out into the unknown. Feelings ofbeing confined to one’s particular role’ and way of being evoke emotions suchas depression. In general, people live in fear of change. People are afraid totake a chance even without some guarantee.

Beneath the apparent simplicity ofFrost’s writings, lurks a hidden commentary on both the nature of personalityand the social/political state of society. Frost brings light to the darker sideof humanity in an extremely subtle way. Dark complexities are not obvious on thesurface, however they are hidden throughout his poems in the form of symbols,imagery, and careful word choice.

Frost’s poetry acts as a metaphor for life.Upon first glance things look nice and orderly, but once the surface has beenscratched the darker side becomes more apparent. BibliographyFrost, Robert.

“Mending Wall.” The Norton Anthology of AmericanLiterature. Ed. Julia Reidhead. 5th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 1998.

1119.Frost, Robert. “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” The Norton Anthology ofAmerican Literature. Ed.

Julia Reidhead. 5th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 1998.

1132. Frost, Robert. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” TheNorton Anthology of American Literature.

Ed. Julia Reidhead. 5th ed. 2 vols. NewYork: Norton, 1998. 1133.

Frost’s Darker SidePoetry

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