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Robert Frost  By Ashley Spires and Amanda Blazek

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

 

 

       Robert Frost (1874-1963)

 

 

About Robert Frost

 

     Frost was born on March 26th, 1874 in San Fransicsco to Isabelle Mooside and William Prescott Frost Jr. With both parents being teachers, and his father also being a journalist, Frost was introduced to writing, and books at a very early age. This introduction included the works of William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, and William Wordsworth; all of whom would later prove to be inspiring in Frost's own works. His father's age when he was only 11,  and along with his love for the outdoors, nature, and the rural countryside, would present the major themes for his future works. Frost later attended Dartmouth in 1892 and received two honorary degrees, finishing at Harvard where he studied for two years without receiving a degree due to an illness. It was during his time at school, in 1895 when he married his high school sweet-heart named Eleanor White. Together they would have 6 children, live on farm, and spend the rest of their careers as teachers. Frost in his career even taught at the local college in Amherst, Massachusetts, where Emily Dickenson lived her entire life. It would be in Massachusetts where he would die on January 29, 1963. During his career and marriage however, he continued to write poetry, such as his most famous poems, “After Apple-picking”, “The Road not taken”, “Home Burial”, and “Mending Wall”. During his lifetime, this brilliant man received four Pulitzer prizes for the American Poet Award, and have to two colleges named in his honor. Robert Frost will forever be missed in the literary world, yet even in his death he was able to create poetry, for on his tombstone is the phrase, “I had a Lover’s Quarrel With The World”.

 

Sources:

Merriman, C.D.. "Robert Frost." The Literature Network. 2006. Online-Literature. 8 May 2007 <www.online-literature.com/frost/>

"Robert Frost." American Poems. 1995. 8 May 2007 <www.americanpoems.com/poets/robertfrost>

 

 

 

A few poems by Robert Frost:

 

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it

And spills the upper boulder in the sun,

And make gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:

I have come after them and made repair

Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,

No one has seen them made or heard them made,

But at spring mending-time we find them there,

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.

We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

We have to use a spell to make them balance:

"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,

One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it

Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,

But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather

He said it for himself. I see him there,

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father's saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explanation of Mending Wall

 

The speaker of the poem is a man who is talking about his neighbor putting up a stone fence to keep himself away from others. However, the neighbor thinks “Good fences make good neighbors,” because then you can have your privacy. The speaker does not agree with his neighbor’s statement and thinks a wall is only used to keep the cattle apart. In the poem when the speaker refers to “something” that doesn’t want the wall erect and he is referring to the hunters and how they destroy the wall. The speaker then talks about how the wall constantly needs mending and how the stones fall off and the man must repair them because the hunters have destroyed them. In this poem the wall is used as a symbol for privacy. This is a way for him to keep to and be away from the neighbors and to keep them away from him. The speaker also thinks his neighbor “moves in the darkness… /Not of woods only and the shades of trees.” This gives the idea that the neighbor is living in darkness because he has fenced himself in from the world and possibly doesn’t want anyone else around.

 

 

 

Birches

When I see birches bend to left and right

Across the lines of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy's been swinging them.

But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.

Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning

After a rain. They click upon themselves

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells

Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust

Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away

You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,

And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed

So low for long, they never right themselves:

You may see their trunks arching in the woods

Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,

Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair

Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.

But I was going to say when Truth broke in

With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,

I should prefer to have some boy bend them

As he went out and in to fetch the cows--

Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,

Whose only play was what he found himself,

Summer or winter, and could play alone.

One by one he subdued his father's trees

By riding them down over and over again

Until he took the stiffness out of them,

And not one but hung limp, not one was left

For him to conquer. He learned all there was

To learn about not launching out too soon

And so not carrying the tree away

Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise

To the top branches, climbing carefully

With the same pains you use to fill a cup

Up to the brim, and even above the brim.

Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,

Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.

And so I dream of going back to be.

It's when I'm weary of considerations,

And life is too much like a pathless wood

Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs

Broken across it, and one eye is weeping

From a twig's having lashed across it open.

I'd like to get away from earth awhile

And then come back to it and begin over.

May no fate willfully misunderstand me

And half grant what I wish and snatch me away

Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:

I don't know where it's likely to go better.

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree~

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

That would be good both going and coming back.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

 

 

                                                                      

 

 

Explanation of Birches

 

In this poem Frost dreams of going back to his childhood when his life was simple and carefree. This peaceful and uninhibited time being when he was swinging among the birch trees; it is through this image that Frost conveys his means to go back and forth between his own version of heaven and back down to earth. Upon remembering this time however he mentions how "Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact". He capitalizes and personifies the word truth to imply great emphasis, suggesting how the truth can sometimes cause breaks in dreams; thus allowing reality to set in. The wonderful thing though is that no matter how much the truth tries to influence our lives, for Frost, simply thinking of birches can bring him to heaven. He later goes on to say, "Earth's the right place for love: I dont know where it's likely to go better". This is the reason he would want to come back at all, because for him there is no better place on Earth to love and be loved. 

 

 

Other Poems by Robert Frost at: www.ketzle.com/frost/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (6)

Anonymous said

at 9:28 am on May 10, 2007

I really enjoyed your interpretation of Birches. I think you've hit the meaning to a T. I particularly like the quote you used," "Earth's the right place for love" It seems like such a simple concept, but thats what Frost did. He created the simple into extraordinary. Very nice page =)

Anonymous said

at 9:37 am on May 10, 2007

Always been a favorite poet and you seem to have done a lot of work to make this page worth reading. The anayses are great and break the poems down to a much more understandable level.

Anonymous said

at 9:40 am on May 10, 2007

Your history of Mr. Frost was very nice. I would contend with your however, that there is a hidden meaning of inequality in Mending Wall. The fact that one of the neighbors wants to put a wall between the two houses is, I think, a metaphor for the way people throughout history have always sought to keep people who are different out of their way of life. At the same time there is the person on the other side of the fence who wants nothing more than to share his life with those on the former side.
Thats just the side of the poem I saw. Your interpretation was very good as well.
Great job!

Anonymous said

at 9:41 am on May 10, 2007

I really liked your page! the description of the author helped understand the poems a little better and there wasn't any useless information.
Mending wall was really long and when i read it i really had no idea what the real meaning was, but your explination was really good. I would have said a little more about it, or taked some more lines from the poem and defined/ translated them, but it gave a really good general meaning.
I really liked the picture you had for birches! Again, it was a really good general summary , but i think the general idea was easy to see. There were a lot of lines i didnt understand, so i think it would have been nice to use more examples from the poem.
Overall i think you did a really good job! I like it!

Anonymous said

at 9:45 am on May 10, 2007

I really enjoyed this page. Robert Frost is an interesting man and writes some really long poems, holy cow. It is a well put together page I thought and very insightful.

Anonymous said

at 9:54 am on May 10, 2007

Love the imagery and use of colorful pictures to support the poems. Good analysis of poems as well.

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