Birches -Analysis Essay, Research Paper
The Ice Storms of Life and the Birches that Survive them
After reading Birches by Robert Frost through many times the main thing I see is the comparison between the consequences of growing out of childhood and whether birches will survive through the harshness of winter. I kept getting a feeling of the inevitable and the feeling of carefreeness of childhood. The first image is one of birches bending towards the ground and there are straight, dark trees by these sad trees. At first there was no feeling of sadness because there are all these images of childhood. Then when there is a realization that these trees are representing life and its trials and tribulations, there is a feeling of being beaten down to the ground, or reality. There is no obvious feeling of this; it is just an image of reality and how there is a fondness of childhood.
The characteristics of the birch and the speaker are alike because before the birch was light colored and carefree in the world until childhood comes along and subdues it, or the ice storm in reality. The boy is carefree and feels in control at play, as an adult he realizes life is not always that way. The straight, dark trees around the birch represent life to me because it is unbending and you cannot see what is going to happen you can only hope. The speaker s yearning to believe a boy bent the tree represents to me that he wants to go back to childhood to be able to bend life the way he wants it to go like he did with the birches and be in control.
I also get the feeling that once life is bent a certain way there is no going back. In the speaker s case, to boyhood, so he can start life all over again. I also think the bent birches represent how once we grow out of the innocence of childhood there is no going back to that same innocence. The comparison of the leaves trailing on the ground and the girls throwing there hair over their heads on their hands and knees to dry in the sun seems like a bad comparison at first. Then I thought of how the tree bent all the way to the ground could represent the speaker who has gotten along in his years, and is remembering another aspect of his childhood, the girls drying their hair in the sun happily. There are no cold ice storms in the image.
Each time the speaker admits the real reasons of the bent birches I get a feeling of coldness and sad abruptness. I found it interesting when the speaker represents truth as a woman. I got a feeling that the speaker was trying to get back his innocence and was annoyed that the truth kept sneaking up on his imagination. When we are children we do not know all of these truths yet, we are in the process of learning them. The lines As the breeze rises, and turn many colored/ As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel , I get this feeling of the result of a storm or the way we react to something that has happened to us in our life. Life can be many colored and we can choose to let it beat us down, bend us down, or be strong and bear the cold winds of life. I think the sun warming the ice on the tree causing it to fall off can be represented like it is in the poem as a bad omen, a part of heaven falling down, which results in the bending of the branches because of the weight of the ice. Or it can represent the shedding of these burdens and surviving because the tree is strong, or the person. The way the boy learns when to launch out after he masters the art of swinging is like how we learn to deal with life s blows.
When the speaker is weary of considerations , we see that he needs to go back to childhood so he does not have to worry about making a path in the woods. He just wants to wander through a pathless wood swinging through the birches. The pathless wood does not bother the boy in the images because he does not know of the considerations yet. The cuts and bruises of running and swinging through the woods do not bother the boy. It is like an adventure and the boy does not see these woods as a whole he just sees from birch to birch. It is after the swinging is done and childhood is over that he sees the pathless wood and realizes that there is something to be weary of.
The use of the words subdued and conquer give the speaker s creative images of boyhood the control of life that he wants in reality. The last part of the poem does not have this sense of control. The way the speaker uses the words Not to return and I d like to go and then right after correcting himself Earth s the right place for me and Toward heaven (not to heaven) gives us a sense of not wanting to live and then the speaker realizing that that is not what he wants to communicate to the readers. The speaker is happy even though he knows life is not like childhood. It is as though the feeling the readers perceive and then the speaker corrects abruptly afterwards is the exact opposite. The speaker wants to live life all over again. Or just get a feeling of childhood and then set back down in reality again.
Throughout the whole poem I feel like I am going through all these emotions with the speaker, like I am inside his mind. I see the speaker closing his eyes at points when he is imagining this boy. The speaker s eyes are open when he is considering the truths of the world. At the end when the speaker is correcting himself gives us a sense of not in control and then he concludes with how people could do worse than swinging through life carefreely, but with the knowledge of not launching out to soon . Which means that going through life with this kind of attitude brings good results and a little feeling of being in control.
The speaker wants to believe that a boy has bent the birch instead of the ice storm because the damage is not permanent. The damage of the ice storm is permanent which is reality to the speaker. This feeling of permanence of life s blows is harsh and the speaker does not want to believe this, so he resorts to the idea that a boy has just swung on the birch and it is not a permanent blow. The birches represent reality in our lives and the cold winter storms represent the challenges that we have to live through. A boy can bend reality when he is imagining he is Tarzan, but the speaker knows that he cannot.
There are many birches in the world and there are also going to be many more ice storms. Time will only tell if boys and ice storms will bend the birches. The speaker wants to believe that boys will bend a lot more birches than the ice storms and I do too.