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Commentary on Robert Frosts'The Gift Outright

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Commentary on Robert Frosts' The Gift Outright Rahim Ladhani 3S1 414791 English Ms. Mansoor 824 Words Robert Frost traces the development of American culture from colonial times to a more present perspective in his poem, The Gift Outright. Frost tells the American story of colonialism, freedom, westward expansion, and the quest to develop a specifically American culture. In doing this, he focuses on explaining ways in which Americans supported the growth and development of their country and culture. Frost suggests that Americans showed their allegiance to their developing country and culture in several ways: battlefield bravery, commitment of talents to the good of the country, and dedication to expanding the United States' land and power. His reflection on the past is also a call for action in the future. He acknowledges that American culture is still not fully developed and the continued dedication of Americans, like occurred in the past, is required for the United States to recognize her full potential. ...read more.


This is because the English colonists were not Americans when they first lived on the land. The colonists were still under English culture and beliefs. Diction plays a crucial part in the following couple of lines of this poem, as Frost uses the word 'possess'. The word 'possess' has different meanings throughout this section. In the beginning of the line "Possessing what we still were unpossessed by"(Frost 6), the word 'possessed' refers to the way the colonists lived on and worked on the New World land. But in the second half of the line, one learns that the colonists were 'unpossessed' by the land. In this context 'unpossessed' means that the colonists owned the land, but they did not have an overwhelmed feeling of responsibility towards it as an independent nation. In the line "Possessed by what we now no more possess"(Frost 7), the first term possessed refers to the way that colonists were consumed by English and European tradition. ...read more.


Although the citizens sacrificed their talents, 'the salvation' and gain for America as a country was far more monumental. What Americans 'outright' gave their abilities to, was a country that was expanding its boarders 'westward.' Not only was the American culture not specifically defined, neither was the reach of the American land. Frost also makes a parallel between physical and cultural American growth. Although the early country was growing in land and although the Americans had surrendered their talents, Frost says that Americans were still "unstoried, artless, and unenhanced"(Frost 15). This final statement of the poem seems to imply that Frost saw that unity of the American people was really created by 'the gift outright' of talents and work, but that the American culture they were seeking to make is still unfulfilled. In conclusion, although Frost realizes that America is still "unstoried, artless, and unenhanced"(Frost 15), he presents Americans again with the persistent goal of giving themselves 'outright' in order to continue to build a distinctive American culture. ...read more.

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