Nature In Robert Frost Poems Essay, Research Paper
In many of his poems, Robert Frost uses images of and nature, especially trees and forests, to convey his thoughts and emotions. The turning of the seasons, a wooded area, and other things common in nature, were also common in Frosts poems. Many people attest this to his working as a farmer on an old New England farm for part of his life, operating a failing New Hampshire Chicken farm. His poems were also often in first person. It helps show a sense of knowledge, so the reader can think that the person may have lived the experience, and is thus more knowledgeable for it.
In Frosts poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (Literature and Its Writers, 807), Frost writes about an experience in the first person, of a man on a journey, who stops by a some woods. He comments on how he knows the man who owns them, but how the person lives in the town, and wont see him. He also mentions that the woods are filling up with snow To watch his woods, fill up with snow (807). So far, there is woods, and snow. In the next stanza, he mentions a frozen lake, and that it is the darkest night of the year. Now we have a lake, and the dark night sky. The next stanza mentions sounds, and how the only two he hears are his horses reigns, and the sweep of the wind brushing the snow. The only other sounds the sweep/ Of easy wind and downy flake (807) And finally, he makes reference to how the woods look, inviting, and interesting. But the man has too much to do before he explores them.
This poem is full of nature as a conveyance of emotions. The first thing Frost mentions is the woods. Woods are common images of darkness or mystery; they have a sense of the unknown in them. Now, Frost never mentions how the trees in the forest are. One image is of calm, peaceful evergreens, the other, of trees that have gone bare in the fall, dark, and foreboding. The next thing he mentions is snow. Snow is another major image in the poem, because it is in direct contrast to the third major image, the dark. While snow may represent a peaceful, calm evening, the night is described as the darkest of the year. Between the woods and frozen lake/ The darkest evening of the year. (807). The pure black against the pure white, with the woods in the middle. Frost then makes mention of a frozen lake.
It is clear that Frost is using the woods, the snow, the night, and the lake, to represent death, and the afterlife. Lakes are common images of life. Water is often used a source of life, as a reviver of things. However, this lake is frozen, there is no life in the lake now. Its ice, not water. The darkness of the night is death. The pure white of the snow is life. Frost must continue through the snow, into the night. He must continue through life, into death. Frost remarks: I have promises to keep, but miles to go before I sleep. The man doesn t want to die yet. He has duties to fulfill in life, and plans on traveling through life longer than this point. So he presses on, and ignores the woods, the afterlife. I feel the reason the woods haven t been described is because the man couldn t describe them. He doesn t know what his afterlife will be, heaven or hell, only that it will exist. Although he is curious, and would like to know, like when he says: The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. He mentions how they look inviting, a place he d like to go. This poem is all about mans eternal struggle between Life, Death, and the consequences of our actions in between, which decide what comes after.
In his poem, the Road Not Taken, Frost once again uses first person to tell the story. He begins by setting his scene as a wooded area, with a fork in the road. He wishes he could travel both, but knows that there is no turning back from which one he chooses, he has to commit. He talks about he is but one lone traveler in the forest, and is looking long and hard down the roads. The first one he sees, bends around the growth of the forest, he can only see so far down it. And looked down one as far as I could/ To where it bent in the undergrowth (Literature and Its Writers, 807). Nature here clouds the man vision, much like a person can only see so far down his own path of life, before its clouded by a mental undergrowth . The next Stanza then begins to describe the second path. It was grassy, and as Frost says wanted wear . In the third stanza, he describes both paths as having leaves on them, and none of them are black. He then talks about how paths beget paths beget paths, comprising the never ending maze that is life. Yet knowing how way leads on to way. (808). In the final stanza, he tells us of his choice. He chose the second one, the path that was unworn, and claims that was the difference in his life.
Once again, Frost uses a forest as a sense of mystery, and the unknown as a way to more easily relate to the reader Frosts meaning. The man in the story is a crossroads in his life, both literally and figuratively. He can only see so far ahead either path, so he doesn t know exactly what to expect from either one. His only clue as to what is in each path, is the number of people who have traveled on them. The man can see one is a clear path, while the other, is grassy, with very little wear. The way Frost describes it, as wanting wear almost gives away which path the man will choose. The man also mentions that no matter what path he chooses, he ll inevitably be faced with this same problem down the road again. Its clear to see that the Forest itself represents the mans life, and the paths are his different choices in life. He can what other people have done, and realizes that he can either go with the crowd, or be more of an individual at this, the first major crossroads he has been forced to face. The man chooses to be original, and an individual, and says that has made the difference in his life. He ll see parts of the woods few others have. Choosing that path set him on the experience that choosing the lesser-worn path is a better way of life, and he attributes that to his lives course. But when he says this, the man says it with a sigh. Frost never clarifies whether the man regrets not doing what so many others have done, possibly giving up friends and fun, or whether that sigh is a wish to go back and do it all again, to relive the good times he had on those un worn paths.
In his article A New American Poet, by Edward Garnet, Mr. Garnet writes he secures a pervading feeling of the mass and movement and elusive force of nature He continues on For instance, the reader will note how the feeling of the mountain’s might bulk and hanging mass, its vast elbowing flanks, its watching domination of the near fields and scattered farmsteads, begins to grow upon him, till he too is possessed by the idea of exploring its high ravines, its fountain springs and granite terraces. This is part of the idea that was talked about earlier. Frost uses nature to entrap the reader in his poem, so they may better understand what is going on, and the emotion involved. Frost chose something so common in all of us to convey his poems with. Who hasn t seen a forest, either first hand, or in a book? Frost knew that by using nature, everyone would be able to feel his poems meanings. Garnet also writes In nearly all Mr. Frost’s quiet dramatic dialogues, his record of the present passing scene suggests how much has gone before, how much these people have lived through, what a lengthy chain of feelings and motives and circumstances has shaped their actions and mental attitudes. This is especially prevalent in the first poem mentioned, because you really get a sense of the commitment the man feels for his life, continuing on to keep promises, but also his sense of wonderment and bewilderment with the unknown.
In Robert Frosts America, an article written by Edward Van Doren, he says that (Frosts pomes) are the work of a man who has never stopped exploring himself–or, if you like, America, or better yet, the world. Exploring is the very core of the meaning in The Road Less Traveled. It is all about a man exploring not only the woods, but himself, and his life. He is exploring the possibilities each path of life has for him, and what surprises each has in store. He continues on Frost is more and more read, by old readers and by young, because in this crucial and natural sense he has so much to say. He is a generous poet. Frost poems speak volumes to readers with their portraits of nature. By reading poems like The Road Less Traveled , the reader can get a sense of being in a forest, lost, not knowing which way to go. They can actually see the lush greenery and looming trees that the man in the poem does.
Frost never gave the reader much of a sense of closure in either of these poems. In the first, we never get a sense of the man sees his woods, his afterlife, only that he does see them, and acknowledges that he will one day wind up in those very woods. In the second, we aren t told how the man feels about his life after taking the road less traveled, only that it made a profound difference on his life. Frost might feel most comfortable using nature, because it is constantly changing, much like emotion and feelings constantly do. There is a sense of unknown in nature that s echoed in the human emotion. They both can change rapidly; have ups and downs, seasons in a sense. Frost very well captures these emotions and transfers them into nature, so that everyone, young and old, can relate.