The Frost Farm Life English Literature Essay

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As a matter of fact poetry casts incredible spells over people and bewitches forever. Robert Frost is known as one of the most popular poets of the twentieth century, with accomplishments ranging from being a Pulitzer Prize to reciting poetry at the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy. His poetry has several levels of meaning and the predominant imagery in it is based on nature. The poet describes it in close interrelation with a man that acts on it in the course of his daily life. The major themes include nature and everyday life, communication, individual, his duties and hardships, isolation, rural and urban life, rationality and imagination.

Robert Frost is highly evaluated for his rural life descriptions, experienced the life on the farm in New Hampshire. In the poems under consideration "Home Burial", "Out, Out-", "Mending Wall", "Storm Fear", "Fire and Ice" and "The Road Not Taken" Frost explores the relationship between mankind and nature in the context of farm life and every scene he describes appears as real and natural, with the emphasis put on the emotions of the characters of the poems.

In the one-stanza blank verse poem "Mending Wall" Frost creates a definite lightheartedness with which he narrates about two farmers having quite different views on their properties' security. The wall that separates them is of symbolic character, as though one of the neighbors seeks for inner comfort repeating that: "Good fences make good neighbors". On the one hand, the individual is regarded as the center of the universe is traced judging from the farmers' attitude to nature and surroundings. On the other hand, a man's life is highly determined by nature that gradually destroys the wall implying that walls are not natural and the nature does not welcome them. Instead it wishes the men "walk together" and coexist in harmony without artificial barriers to friendship and understanding. The message is conveyed with the help of the poems narrative structure, imagery and humor.

Another work on rural life of common Americans is the thirty-four-line free verse "Out, Out-" that contains an allusion to W. Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth". Frost renders the message of life terseness portraying a dramatic story of an accidental death of a Vermont boy who is pressed into the daily household. The fatality and irony with the help of which the poet describes the events emphasizes the routine life and the end of a usual workday that can hardly be called a day: "And nothing happened: day was all but done". The sister distracts the boy's attention and he gets his hand hurt with a saw blade. The hand is gone as well as the boy who cannot bear the shock and his pulse faded: "Little - less - nothing" symbolizing the fleetingness of life. The boy stops breathing and one hears the crowning words expressing the cruel irony of life: "No more to build on there. And they, since they Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs". The poet uses figurative language applying to onomatopoeia: "The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard", repeating "snarled" and "rattled" as well as glorifying the beauty of a mountain near Vermont. Here, there appears a contrast of the serenity of the scene and the horrible machine noise that brought death to an innocent boy whose life turned out to be negligibly insignificant.

One more dramatic poem under consideration is "Home Burial" where again nature is interrelated with the human relations and fate. It contains an allegory of human feelings and their attitude towards the death of the only child. The husband manages to accept the death, while wife cannot and blames him for addressing the dead child: "You can't because you don't know how to speak". The wife accuses him repeating: "Three foggy mornings and one rainy day Will rot the best birch fence a man can build", here there again appears a line about inevitability of fading and death. The death that ruined the relations in the family forever and is a "home burial" for the wife as she observes the symbolic rot of the fence. The gentle tone of the poem undergoes the transformations within a poem as the tension grows. The bleak picture of the house is parallel to the rotting of the birch fence. The theme of death, by the way, is not occasionally emphasized in Frost's farm poems as he dealt with many deaths throughout his life.

In the poem "Fire and Ice" Frost provides an insight into the destruction power of desire and hate. The poem is not an astronomical speculation about a possible catastrophe of the future but a deep inner symbolic pattern. Giving plain examples of fire and ice, Frost lets readers ponder on the future of the world; each phrase organically plaited into the poem is thought-provoking. According to Aristotle sins of reason are more serious than sins of passion. So in the third and fourth lines Frost states: "From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire". He may not speak about the forthcoming catastrophe only but touch upon the issue of destructiveness of feelings. Both elements can destroy the world, but human nature is also destructive and does harm to nature, though remains deeply connected with it. Robert Frost uses regular tail-rhyme as well as in majority of his traditional verses and applies to a pun on the words "ice" in "twice" and "suffice" that accentuates the bitter coldness of hatred to impress the reader and add drama to the situation. Robert Frost set a rhetorical question that concerns everyone and is still unanswered and remains as topical in terms of globalization as it used to be half a century ago.

The poem "Storm Fear" has something in common with "Fire and Ice" as it also describes the raging nature as well as the response of humans to what they go through. The poet personifies the elements cold and fire, claiming: "How cold creeps as the fire dies at length" and giving readers a hint that three people are caught in disaster and "It costs no inward struggle not to go". They are not sure: "Whether 'tis in us to arise with day And serve ourselves unaided". The poem is emotionally charged and flashy with short exclamatory sentences of appeal. The communication of people embraced in nature's arms is linked to their helplessness and insignificance in the storm's overall context.

In "The Road Not Taken" Frost applies to vivid imagery, calm tone and simple vocabulary setting a tranquil smooth-flowing rhythm which finally makes readers pensive. It is dedicated to Frost's friend Thomas and describes the woods near London, but, actually, the theme seems to be interrelated with the poet's life, as he has always had two roads in life, having a choice of becoming either a poet or a teacher. The title of the poem is "The Road Not Taken" and is intentionally emphasized by Frost, as he never called it "The Road Taken" as he most likely feels remorse of impossibility to change anything. From the first lines of the poem readers plunge into the atmosphere created by the author due to the yellow woods originality and the leafy paths in front of the traveler. In the first stanza the traveler describes his position, having two paths equally appealing to him. Frost gives an idea that roads "both in the morning equally lay" (Frost), as in the last stanza Frost seems to present readers with the main hint on what he wants them to realize: "I shall be telling with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence" (Frost). The sign may be both a relief or satisfaction with the choice or sigh of pity and regret, but generally Frost implies that the choices lead people to forming different lifelines. Frost uses alliterations like "wanted wear" and an extended metaphor of roads symbolizing choices we make in life.

Frost's strict meter poems composed either in iambus or in free verse remain inspirational and many of them are ironical revealing the poet's attitude to life and the theme of farm life close to nature takes its distinguished place in the poet's rich literary heritage.