Robert Frost Poetry Essay, Research Paper
Robert Frost has written numerous poems in his lifetime. Of those poems there are twothat standout in the subject of imagery and horror. These two poems are Design and House Fear. Some critics have mentioned that in these poems Robert Frost s poetry isfull of imagery. Frost fills the poem with brilliant images and then lets the reader in onthe story that is suddenly taking shape. Frost s poetry makes the reader think ofnumerous questions and leaves questions open for the reader to think about. Thecomparison of these two poem s are unique in such ways. Design and House Fear are two poems that tell of unique images of the surroundings that are suddenly pulled intoa plot full of uncertainty and dread. Design is a poem by Frost set in a unique split perspective of pleasant anddreadful images. Frost uses images and ambiguity to suggest many different meanings. Frost achieves utter horror in this poem, which many consider his most terrifying poem,by mixing pleasant images with disgusting ones. The fat spider is dimpled and white like a baby(Frost Design 1). Dead wings become a paper kite (Frost Design 8). Death and blight are easily mixed ready to begin the morning right, as in a breakfastad(Frost Design 4,5). A sense of abnormality passes through the entire poem. Imageryis twisted into innocence and evil, chance and design. The flower, ironically called the heal-all, is usually blue, but this one is white. The spider is at a height where it wouldnot normally be found. Moths are usually attracted by light, but this one has been steered (Frost Design 12) to its death in the night. Images in this poem are told in vivid detail much like House Fear. The imagesin House Fear are a genuine perspective to the poem throughout the reading. Theimages and title itself leave the reader curious about the poem. Frost sets up variousquestions in this poem. What was Frost intending by the title of the poem? Does theuniverse exist by design or by chance? What would be better- that darkness terrorize bydesign, or that all the little evils in the world operate without design? Frost leaves youthinking of so many questions that, in the end, go unanswered. In the Poem House Fear, Robert Frost portrays the anxiety of a couple cominghome to something residing in their home. The poem carries a dark, frightful tone as thesuspense and curiosity builds throughout the reading. The author uses imagery,ambiguity, and sound to emphasize the feelings these people have every night as theyopen the door and allow whatever it is that is in the house to be off in flight (Frost House Fear 7). Robert Frost opens the poem by painting an ominous picture of this poem ssetting. The words are packed into the first two lines each playing a vital role in creatingthe tone for the poem. For example the lines, Always at night when they returned to thelonely house from far away, (Frost House Fear 2,3) are filled with imagery that allowsthe reader to assume and visualize a number of things. The residents of a country home
return always at night (Frost House Fear 2) because of the distance they must travel. The word night (Frost House Fear 2) is placed in such a position as to create a darkatmosphere throughout the entire poem. To lamps unlit and fire gone gray, are twolines that add to this dark imagery creating an intense, silent picture in the reader smind(Frost House Fear 4). This imagery helps control the tone in the poem. Many of the words used in this poem are left vague. The words far away, (Frost House Fear 3) for example, poses the question in the reader s mind of whether thehouse is a country-house far away from the city, or whether the people live in the city andwork far out in the country? This question is cleared with the word lonely, (Frost House Fear 3) which not only puts the house in a country setting, but also personifiesthe structure. The house now has feelings and emotions, and yearns for company. Thereis ambiguity in the question of who the owners of the home are. Frost never says howmany or who these people were, but indicates that the number is plural as he uses theword they (Frost House Fear 9). The narrator helps the reader get a better idea ofwho these people were by the way the poem is read. In the first line, the narrator says, Itell you this they learned (Frost House Fear 5). By the way this line reads it sounds asthough the narrator is a father figure to a newly wed couple, or a nosy onlooker who can tstay out of their business. The narrator speaks as if this couple had a hard time gettingthings right, as if they just couldn t learn how to live in the real world but at least learnedto rattle the key before entering their home. Frost leaves the reader curious by never telling them what it is that is presentwhen they (Frost House Fear 2) come home. The only word that gives us a clue as towhat it may be is the word flight (Frost House Fear 7). It could be a bat, or maybe araven, or an evil spirit. Many things can take flight, what it is that flies out of the housewhen the door is opened and before the lamp is lit is a mystery. The ambiguity in thisword allows the reader to read the poem in a few different way according to what exactlythe reader s mind can conjure up. Robert Frost uses imagery, ambiguity, and sound to portray the emotions andsurroundings of these horrifying poems. The tones are controlled by the use of assonanceand alliteration. By doing these things, Frost allows the reader to visualize the settingand empathize with each horrific occurrence. Frost makes the reader think of what he orshe is reading. Bringing many questions to mind by using techniques and ambiguity. Robert Frost was truly one of our greatest poets.
Barry, Elaine. Robert Frost on Writing. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1973.Frost, Robert Lee. Design. Literary Culture. Eds. L. Bensel-Meyers, Susan Giesemann North, and Jeremy W. Webster. New York: Simon & Schuster Custom Pub., 1999. 449-450.Frost, Robert Lee. House Fear. Mountain Interval. New York: Henry, Holt and Company, 1920.Sohn, David A., and Richard H. Tyre, eds. Frost: The Poet and His Poetry. New York: Holt, Rinehardt and Winston, Inc., 1967.