Birches Essay, Research Paper
After reading this poem, I believe that it can be divided into three specific parts. The scientific explanation for the appearance of birches, Frost’s boyhood fanatasy about their appearance, and his present day interpretation of their appearance.
In the first section, Frost explains the birches appearances scientifically. He implys that natural phenomenons make the branches of the birch trees sway. He explains that ice storms, which is a characteristic of New England weather, can accumulate on the branches and cause them to become heavy and bending. (For those of ya’ll not familiar with the appearance of the bark of the birch, click here.) Birches have a black background with crackled snow white bark on top of the black bark. It has an unusual appearance because both the black and the white are visable. Frost offers many suggestions for their appearance. It maybe due to the ice breaking that is burdened on the bark. The breeze causes the ice to move and crack certain parts of the bark, creating the crackling effect. “As the [ice] stir cracks and crazes their enamel.” He also compares this image to that of breaking glass and compares it to the “dome of heaven” shattering. I enjoy how he offers such different interpretations for the appearance of the bark. My personal favorite is the shattering of the dome in heaven. I think this creates a vivid image for the reader. He goes on to say that once the branches are bent, they never return completely upright again, but they are so flexible that they never break.”You may see their trunks arching in the woods/ Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground.” These are some of the natural phenomenons that Frost mentions to explain the appearance of Birch trees.
Frost then goes on to offer a more fantasy-like interpretation that he knows is not the real reason for their appearance, but it is imaginative and creative. He imagines little boys could have caused this bending of the branches to happen because they were swinging and playing on them. He then begins to tell a fable-like story that could explain their appearance. He describes a young boy that lives in a rural territory, possibly a farm, that goes out to do his chores, like fetching the cows, but gets side tracked by both the beauty of the woods and his wanting to play. Because the little boy is in a secluded environment, he is forced to entertain himself. Therefore, he became accustomed to playing on his father’s trees. One by one, he would conquer them all. He did this on such a frequent basis that he took the stiffness out of them and caused them to bend. Here Frost is offering a far-fetched romantic suggestion like some of Aesop’s fables. It was the boy’s carefree manner of entertainment that was an excuse for the bending of the trees. He then goes on to say that he learned many valuable lessons swinging on the trees. These could be both lessons dealing with life as well as how to play on the trees properly. As all the trees became bent, he learned to swing from tree to tree, but jumping off before they touched the ground. In this paragraph, Frost explores a boy, perhaps his own, fantasies with the birch trees. He offers a more child-like approach to explain the appearance of the trees.
The final part of the poem deals with Frost’s adult views about birch trees and how he relates it to his life. He is reflecting back to a boy’s innoncent childhood experience. Although we are not certain that the boy described in the poem is Frost, it is definately a possibility because he grew up in New England,an area with many birch trees. At the end of the poem, Frost longs to return back in time to this carefree life. Frost says that whenever his life becomes difficult and confusing, he wishes that he could just swing carefreely from branch to branch as he did when he was a child. In fact, he enjoyed this era in his life so much that he is willing to be “reborn” to experience this stage of his life again. Don’t worry, he is not suicidal, he just longs to revisit his childhood days, where his life was peaceful, fun, and carefree. He does not want to just simply die, but “die, and be reborn again.” He is not rejecting earth, because he likes earth and all that it has to offer. “Earth’s the right place for love:/ I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.” Although he has grown up, he is still a part of this fantasy world that he would be content “climbing” birches his entire life. He uses the image that the top of the trees represent heaven, and the more he climbs the closer he is to reaching his dream. However, he does not want to reach heaven right this instant, so the bending of the tree would send him back down to earth, or reality. “But dipped its top and set me down again/ That would be good both going and coming.” But he would be perfectly content with his life being a “swinger of birches.”
Frost was a bitchin guy.