Frost’s Two Tramps In Mud Time Essay, Research Paper
The Characterization of the Speaker in Two Tramps in Mud Time.
The speaker of Robert Frost s poem Two Tramps in Mud Time can be characterized as a passionate, wary, suspicious, insecure and rational and logical person who is intolerant of interference in his work. There is evidence present in the text that supports these characteristics. The speaker is shown as a person who enjoys doing his job and works really hard at it. He realizes that another person needs his job more than he does but he still stands up for his belief that work can only be done effectively if it is done with enjoyment. The character of the speaker in the poem is described as very inconsistent and it changes from being intolerant in the beginning to rational and considerate towards the end. These and some other points lead me to believe in the above listed characteristics of the speaker and I will make them more clear further down in the paper.
The speaker is characterized as a person who enjoys doing his job and is intolerant of any interference in his work. The speaker is shown as a person who splits wood as a hobby and really enjoys it. This poem was published in 1936, which was the heart of the economic depression and due to which a lot of people were out of work and looking for jobs. Similarly when two out of work lumberjacks approach the speaker, he presumes that they are trying to steal his job from him. When the lumberjacks try to distract him from his aim he becomes sure of the fact that they want to take his job from him, which makes him very annoyed and angry. The lines And one of them put me off my aim/ By hailing cheerily Hit them hard show that even when the lumberjacks are harmlessly commenting of his work it puts him off his aim because he thinks that the lumberjacks real intention is to steal his job from him. The speaker gets very annoyed and angry when he is disturbed because he thinks that the lumberjacks by saying Hit them hard are trying to demean his work although they may not be doing that in reality. The anger of the speaker towards the lumberjacks is shown in the lines I knew pretty well what he had in mind:/ He wanted to take my job for pay . These lines show that the speaker presumed that the lumberjacks were trying to steal his job away from his for money causing him to get mad irritated. The lines The blows that a life of self-control/ Spares to strike for the common good/ That day, giving a loose to my soul,/ I spent on the unimportant wood prove that the speaker was very frustrated because of many factors and by distracting him the lumberjacks added on to the frustration of the speaker. The anger and frustration of the speaker caused by the disturbance in his work show that he is passionate about his work and really enjoys doing it.
The speaker is also described as a passionate person. The speaker is shown to be very passionate about his work and surrounding nature. It is the speaker s love for his work that causes him to get angry with the lumberjacks. The speaker loves his work so much that he gets annoyed if somebody disturbs him or if the speaker feels that another person wants his work. The speaker tends to brag about how good he is in his work, which further displays his love for his work. The following lines Good blocks of oak it was I Split,/ As large around as the chopping block;/ And every piece I squarely hit/ Fell splinter less as a cloven rock. illustrate that the speaker is not only passionate about his work but also knows his work really well, is also very good at it and he tends to brag about his skill. The speaker is also very passionate about the nature and his surroundings. The lines A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight/ And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,/ His song so pitched as not to excite/ A single flower as yet to bloom displays that the speaker s description nature is very detailed and beautiful as the speaker talks about the beauty of wind unraveling a plume and the beauty of the bluebirds song thus showing his passion and interest in the variety of nature in his surroundings. The detailed and beautiful description of the weather in stanza 3 further illustrates the speaker s love for nature. Lines The sun was warm but the wind was chill./ You know how it is with an April day/ When the sun is out and the wind is still,/ You re one month on in the middle of May./ represents the speaker s knowledge about the nature of the weather throughout the year and how weather changes from month to month, this shows his passion and interest in weather. The speaker describes the weather as being very inconsistent which can mean that the speaker is using unpredictability of the weather as a metaphor for unpredictability of the human nature.
The speaker describes the weather as being very unpredictable. The poet is using the description of the April weather to explain the unpredictability of the human nature. The lines listed in the previous paragraph show how weather can go from chilly to warm in a matter of minutes. Lines But if you so much as dare to speak,/ A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,/ A wind comes off a frozen peak, and you re two months back in the middle of March further represent the unpredictability of weather. The lines listed above imply that the April weather can go from chilly to warm from warm to rainy and from rainy to cold all in a matter of minutes. Similarly the human nature in general and the speaker s nature in particular can change drastically in a matter of time. The speaker s nature in the beginning if the poem is shown as intolerant towards the lumberjacks but in the middle he is beginning to change from intolerant to wary, insecure and towards the end he is shown as rational and logical. The unpredictability of the weather is also used to describe the unpredictability of the life itself. The times of life can also change from good and happy to bad and hard times as it did in the lumberjacks case. The change in the speaker s nature is shown in the following paragraphs.
The poem also describes the speaker as wary and suspicious. The lumberjacks never directly ask him for his job or show the intention of wanting it but the speaker presumes that they want his job and is suspicious of them. The lines Be glad of water, but don t forget/ The lurking frost in the earth beneath/ That will steal forth after the sun is set/ And show on the water its crystal teeth. imply that the appearance or intention that is displayed on the outside is not always true. These lines describe the speaker as a wary person. The speaker is using the above listed lines to explain that even if the intention of the lumberjacks seem to be harmless from the outside but it is not their true intention for disturbing the speaker. According to the speaker the lumberjacks real intentions are to get his job. The above lines also show that the speaker always remains cautious about how the good times in his life can change into bad times as it did for the lumberjacks.
The fear of losing his hobby to the lumberjacks makes the speaker very insecure.
The speaker is described as insecure further down in the poem. The insecurity of the speaker towards his job is explained in the 7th stanza. The lines Out of the woods two hulking tramps/ (From sleeping God knows where last night,/ But not long since in the lumber camps). They thought all chopping was theirs of right. illustrate that the speaker is irritated by the presence of the lumberjacks. He gets irritated because not long ago when the lumberjacks were employed at the lumber camps they thought that only they had the right to chop the wood and now that they are out of work they come to him asking for his job. The lines The weight of the ax-head poised aloft/ The grip on the earth of outspread feet. show that the speaker is confident of his work and when all of a sudden the two hulking tramps come out and pose a threat to his job making him feel very insecure. This causes the speaker to get irritated as he felt insecure about his job and he thought that the lumberjacks don t even enjoy splitting wood and that they had no right to take his job from him.
Towards the end the speaker shows signs of being rational. The speaker s character goes through a drastic change in the end as he realizes that the lumberjacks need his job more than he does. The lines They knew they had but to stay their stay/ And all their logic would fill my head: show that the speaker opens his mind to listen to the lumberjacks needs. Lines My right might be love but theirs was need./ And where the two exist in twain Theirs was the better right- agreed. illustrate that the speaker apprehends that the right of need overpowers the right of love. The speaker s realization of the lumberjacks need shows that he is a rational and logical thinker.
In, conclusion I would like to say that the speaker s character changes from being intolerant in the beginning to being wary and insecure in the middle and rational and logical towards the end. The character of the speaker reflects the character of the human as being inconsistent and keeps changing from time to time. In the end Frost gives the message that if you enjoy your work only then will it be remembered in the future and only then we will achieve the ultimate goal of life a place in heaven.