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Critical interpretation

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Introduction

Liam Kelleher Date of submission: 02 November 2009 Critical interpretation Discuss Robert Frost's exploration of man's relationship to nature Robert Frost has an exceptional relationship to nature. Being a farmer in New England, he was surrounded by the beauty and tranquillity of nature. Frost, through his poems explores man's relationship to nature, capturing every detail, the importance of nature and how human's become sidetracked in worldly issues. In the poem 'The Road Not Taken' Frost uses the metaphor of the road to reflect on life choices, that in life we may come to "two roads" (1) and look back to see what life would bring if the other road had been taken. In the first stanza, the last word "undergrowth" (5) symbolises mystery and adventure through the woods. Frost uses the nature of the woods to show life is like those woods because no one can clearly see or predict what will happen in the future, only hope to choose a path that will lead to good fortune and happiness. Though the speaker takes the road "less travelled by" (19), he justifies himself "because it was grassy and wanted wear" (8). This can be seen that the speaker took the pleasant road or wants to discover something exciting, however after travelling down the road "the passing there / had worn them really about the same." Unlike the title, clearly the road had been taken. ...read more.

Middle

In the second stanza, the imagery is elaborated providing a definite time and location, "the darkest evening of the year" (8) which is the 21st of December. The first two lines take us deep into the woods, so far that his horse even finds it weird. The 4th line of the 2nd stanza shows that it is "the darkest evening" this could mean it is dark emotionally, as when it has been snowing the evening still seems light. In the third stanza, the horse "gives his bells a shake." (9) Like death comes unexpected, the reader feels shaken from the trance; the rhyme scheme has sent the reader into. The bells' loudness contrasts the quietness and gentleness around where the only other sounds are the eerie silence, "wind" and "downy flake." The final stanza brings all the emotions of the poem together, an intense awe of love and nature. The "lovely, dark and deep" (15) woods seem to reflect the speaker and invite him in. Line 15 is very contrasting, "lovely, dark and deep" the speaker is contemplating death. The speaker realises it is not his time to die as he has "promises to keep" (16) maybe to his family or to his horse. His relationship with the horse brings about his responsibility. Here Frost shows that he is caring and this time nature is relying on him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Referring back to "heaven" the apple could signify the Bible story of Adam and Eve, before the apple was introduced they were in paradise in a state of bliss, but when the apple was introduced it tempted them and they were happy no more. The speaker could be feeling like Adam and Eve, longing for "heaven", repenting. In 'After Apple-Picking' Frost is working with and relying on nature, "Cherish" (31) is significant in the way Frost has to look after and be careful of each and every apple, or else it becomes of less worth. For many farmers if nature doesn't provide then man simply cannot survive. In conclusion, I feel Frost is expressing through his poems, which man must maintain and not take for granted, nature. Nature determines the quality and way of life we lead, Frost obviously has built up a great relationship with nature and through his poems he is telling us the reader, how vital it is to build a relationship with nature. In each of the three poems I have analysed, Robert Frost shows how nature affected his life. Nature leads the way, for example in 'The Road Not Taken' if there had been no "undergrowth" and the road that he eventually took was "grassy and wanted wear," (8) Frost may have taken the other road. And going down this road he may have had a different future, but as the "sigh" suggests we just won't know. [3] Words: 1,711 ...read more.

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