The Gift Outright Essay, Research Paper
The Gift Outright
In the poem The Gift Outright, Robert Frost uses a historical theme to express the feelings of Americans long ago; feelings of oppression and desperation which ultimately lead to joy and triumph. Frost connects with the many Americans today who also have these feelings when reading the poem.
The title of the poem is important to look at in order to understand the poem s meaning. The gift was the sacrifice that Americans made to give future Americans freedom as well as the ability to live in a land where anything is possible . The term outright requires a person to think in terms of giving a gift wholeheartedly and without hesitation. Most Americans are unable to truly appreciate this concept.
The first two sentences The land was ours before we were the land s. / She was our land more than a hundred years / Before we were her people., refers to the colonists living on the land but not really owning it. They did not own it because they were still under the control of England. When the Colonists ultimately cut themselves completely away from England, they could feel like they were the land s people.
In lines six and seven, different meanings of the word possessed are used. In line six, Possessing what we still were unpossessed by, Frost refers to the colonists having physical possession of the land. Again, the land could not possess them because the colonists did not own the land. In order to more
completely comprehend what Frost is saying here, consider the analogy of a homeowner versus a renter and the house they live in. The renter s house can never truly feel possessed by its owner because he can easily move out and sever ties to it. On the other hand, a homeowner normally has his heart and sole invested in his house. Therefore not only is the house possessed by the owner, but the owner is possessed by the house.
In line seven Possessed by what we now no more possessed., suggests that while the colonists were still possessed by England in terms of having to follow England s rules and pay taxes, the colonists no longer possessed England in their hearts and sole. They were like the renter who is ready to move on.
Something we were withholding made us weak / Until we found out that it was ourselves / We were withholding from our land of living, / And forthwith found salvation in surrender., says a lot. The thought that a person needs to find the strength within to surrender sounds like an oxymoron. Normally the thought of surrendering makes a person think of being weak. However, it took a great deal of strength for the colonists to surrender to what was in their hearts. The colonists realized that pledging allegiance to England only weakened their ability to become one with the land. Triumph and glory was theirs, once they gave up their dependence on England.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
The final lines of the poem are inspirational to many Americans because they point out the fact that the colonists did indeed give the gift outright. They gave of themselves wholeheartedly, without hesitation, and without regret. Many sacrifices were made in war as well as during the great migration west. The colonists had no idea what was before them they just believed in their hearts that it would be good The expansion of America gave the colonists the opportunity to create their own stories and develop their own culture. They could look back at what America was and look forward to what America would become.