English / Robert Frost Poems

Robert Frost Poems

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Autor:  anton  01 April 2011
Tags:  Robert
Words: 905   |   Pages: 4
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Compare and contrast ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ and ‘Birches’.

The poetry of Robert Frost often embraces themes of nature. ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ and ‘Birches’ are not exceptions. Frost shows the relationship between nature and humans in both poems.

In the poem ‘Birches’, the narrator sees trees whose branches have been bent by ice storms. However, he favors a vision of branches that are bent as a result of boys swinging on them, just as he did when he was young. Here, he is connecting humans to nature.

Frost also lends sound to his description of the branches as “they click upon themselves/ As the breeze rises” (lines 7-8). This is a spin on the idea that problems and experiences “click” off of people, however, the click is not a snap implying that problems do not break people. Frost further explains the branches bend because of the ice, however, they do not break. This can also be compared to life because many people have problem and frustration. However, they do not break under life’s ups and downs. These passages help connect the natural and more permanent structure of the birches to life and mankind. By comparing them to living beings, he shows that life flows through all things.

In ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, the lines ‘‘The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep.’ The use of ‘lovely, dark, and deep,’ suggests that the narrator’s mood at that time. He is having some dark thoughts somewhere in his mind about escaping from the task that he has yet to complete. Here, the description of nature suggests the mood of a person. It therefore shows how nature is being linked to a human.

If one inspects these poems, one can extract a subtle attempt by Frost to express his contempt for the burdens society imposes on the individual and how much people wish to escape from it but yet it is not feasible.

“Birches,” is an example of the use of nature imagery to convey contempt for the pressure of social life. Much of the language in “Birches” is laced with words indicating a burden. ‘…Often you have seen them / Loaded with ice…Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away…They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, / though once they are bowed / So low for long, …It’s when I’m weary of considerations, …’. These words suggest a heavy load. They are simply not just describing the birches but they do relate to humanity as well.

After reminiscing about going back to his childhood days of swinging on birches, Frost relates, ‘And life is too much like a pathless wood / Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs / Broken across it, and one eye is weeping…’ This by itself and Frost’s later wish that he could leave earth awhile before needing to return, do suggest that the loads of the birches is somewhat similar to the burden of an individual.

In ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, lines nine through twelve shows that man’s responsibilities are calling him. The narrator is trying to snap himself back to reality. ‘sweep/ of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.’ This lines tell that the person is trying to escape his dull and unrewarding life, but yet he has to carry on with life and fulfill his obligations till the day he dies.

In the poem ‘Birches’, the narrator feels the need to attempt to transcend everyday life in an effort to move into a world of freedom which contains no worries. The pain of reality may be too much for him. In the past, the speaker could rely on swinging on the trees to help him transcend his present state in life. Now, opposite forces pull on the speaker during everyday life, but he can’t just swing on the birch trees like he used to. He wishes he could be a boy again, but as much as he longs to go away for a while, he knows that he has it alright on Earth.

The tone of that poem is not as dull compared to that of ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. Though similarly, this poem talks about the pain of reality and how escaping into another world is very tempting, I can sense a greater reluctance from the narrator of staying in reality in this poem compared to the previous one.

Furthermore, though both poems have settings of winter, there is a mention of ‘sunny’ in ‘birches’ which lights up the poem to some extent and shows some signs of optimism. In the other poem, the reader can only picture darkness with not even a single glimpse light present. There are no signs of optimism, only signs of great reluctance.

Thus in conclusion, both poems had successfully made use of nature imagery which allows us to picture the image in our minds. The other similarity that they share in common is their content. Apart from that, ‘Birches’ is more of a ‘hopeful’ poem compared to ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ which is more of a ‘hope-less’ poem.

(915 words)



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