Comparing 3 Robert Frost Poems Essay, Research Paper
Comparing Frost?s ?Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening?, ?Birches?, and ?The Road Not taken?
Robert Frost was an American poet that first became known after publishing a book in England. He soon came to be one of the best-known and loved American poets ever. He often wrote of the outdoors and the three poems that I will compare are of that ?outdoorsy? type.
There are several likenesses and differences in these poems. They each have their own meaning, each represent a separate thing and each tell a different story. However, they are all indicative of Frost?s love of the outdoors, his true enjoyment of nature and his wistfulness at growing old. He seems to look back at youth with a sad longing.
Each of these three poems are alike in that they are all about woods and outdoors or an item in the woods. The word ?wood? or ?woods? is used in each of these poems, at least once. It is used to represent both literally the tree or trees, and figuratively, they represent a journey to peace, a climb to ?heaven?.
In ?The Road Not Taken?, the ?wood? is merely the setting. It is described as a ?yellow wood?. This is obviously fall. I can see the orange, yellow and red leaves, lying all around. The gray/brown bark of the trees where the leaves are already fallen. The bright plumes where they have not. The trees also hide the road as it passes from sight around the bend. This symbolizes the uncertainty of the future. You can look ahead, but there is no way to know what is around the next bend.
?Birches? is seems to be entirely about woods and trees. As the name implies, this is the main focus though the story. They are shown as an opponent for a boy that, once beaten, though very resilient, will never rise again. He describes them as being laden down with the results of an ice storm, but that he would like to think of them as being bent over by this boy. His use of the ice storm and the boy seems to represent his wistfulness at growing old and his desire to be young again. This was written when he was about 45. About the time that he would have a mid-life crisis. He can see that he is no longer the young man that once he was, not able to climb the trees like he did nor able to play like that. He talks of when he was a ?swinger of birches? and how he dreams of being one again. He knows that this is not a reality for him.
Frost also uses the trees in this poem to represent a way to get away from the cares and trials of life on Earth. He talks of getting away and coming back to start over. Climbing ?toward Heaven?. He desires to be free from it all, but then he says that he is afraid that the fates might misunderstand and take him away to never return. This is like most of us today. We want to go to Heaven, but we don?t want to die to get there.
In ?Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening?, Frost describes a thick patch of woods that are a long way from anything. He does not go into great detail describing them, leaving that to the readers imagination. He merely describes them as ?lovely, dark and deep?. This lack of detail is to help us focus not so much on all the things that are there, as the things that aren?t. He mentions that the horse must be thinking that this is strange to stop here, with no barn near. The only thing that is nearby is nature. The lake is frozen, the trees and ground are covered with snow. During a snowstorm, sound does not travel very well. It is very muddled and muted. The only sounds that are mentioned in the poem are the bells on the horse?s harness and the wind. So, the rider is stopping to smell the roses. He is taking a break from the world around him, watching these woods fill with snow. Then, he remembers his cares and is off, with miles and miles to go.
While there are many similarities in these poems, there are also several differences. In ?Birches?, the season is both summer and winter. In ?Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening? winter. ?The Road Not Taken? is set in fall. These seasons are ones that we sometimes use to represent the latter stages in life. Fall is a time when things are old and while sometimes beautiful, the days are numbered. Winter represents the barrenness and coldness of death. He uses summer to symbolize boyhood and youth.
In ?Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening? Frost does not tell us anything about the narrator. We never know anything about who ?I? is. The only picture that we get of ?I? is that he/she likes the woods, the snow and the peace that is found there. I get the idea that this is a man, out on an important mission. It would have to be important to ride out on a horse in a blizzard even though they used to ride horses everywhere. Also, ?I? has miles to go and ?promises to keep?. This indicates a level of responsibility that would suggest the narrator is a man.
?Birches? contains the most descriptive language of these three poems. He goes into great detail describing every bend and the way the birches look after being bent so many times. He thoroughly describes the ice cracking from the wind tossed trees, the way the ice shatters and falls to the snow. His extreme use of descriptive details helps to put the reader there. Focusing on the trees and the cold. I can almost see my breath, my nose and ears so cold that they burn. The sun is glaring off of the snow, and I can hear the ice falling now and again, and the cracking of the birches as they blow one against another.
In ?The Road Not Taken?, the focus is not on the woods themselves, but on the road that passes through them. The woods are the setting and they hide the road after it curves, as time hides the future from our eyes. Outwardly, this poem is about two roads, one that is well traveled and one that is not. Though both are worn about the same. The author takes the road that had not been taken, the grass tall and the leaves still freshly fallen and not trod on. This also symbolizes the choices that we have to make in our lives. We can follow others like sheep or we can boldly go our own way. The author went his own way and ?that has made all the difference?!
As has been shown, Frost uses his love of the outdoors to pull the reader there as well. His style of writing tells us much of the poet. He is leery of growing old and he looks back on youth with wistfulness and longing for another, happy time. This is something that we all share with him and this shared experience helps us to enjoy his poetry all the more, as it seems to tell our own story too.