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Discuss Frosts use of language and setting in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and compare with Desert Places.

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Introduction

Discuss Frost's use of language and setting in 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' and compare with 'Desert Places'. 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' and 'Desert Places' both make use of language and setting to portray certain emotions and how the narrator feels towards these emotions. Both encompass the idea of loneliness and solitude, yet both deliver different ways of viewing such isolation. 'Stopping By' uses language to create an image of complete isolation within the snowy woods. The narrator talks about the setting fondly, speaking of "easy wind and downy flake". The use of 'easy' suggests a quiet and tranquil place, and with the introduction of the idea of 'easy wind', this suggestion is fortified. It could be said that the setting of the Woods is a reflection of his own feelings - whilst he is describing the place to be peaceful, we see that the narrator himself is at peace. Although we perceive the narrator to be alive at this point, there is evidence to suggest that the narrator may be dead, just a ghost floating through the memory of the woods - "between the woods and the frozen lake, the darkest evening of the year" - as if he is frozen in time to this one scenario. ...read more.

Middle

This implies that they do not usually, or have not previously stopped whilst on a journey. We are provided with a reason for this, which also ties up the idea of unease and exploration of the beauty of isolation together in the final stanza; "but I have promises to keep" - the use of 'but' renders all previous thought processes void, as it becomes apparent that the narrator does not wish to stop within the woods, due to such oaths preventing him from doing so. This reasoning is also backed up by the repetition of the next two lines; "and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep", referring back to the idea of death, suggesting that he is not willing to stop here, and die, in spite of the appeal of the description he has given of the woods. 'Desert Places', another poem by Frost, uses language to portray contemplation of nothingness within a possibly metaphorical landscape created by the narrator's feelings, whilst questioning the purpose of human life itself. The title "Desert Places" creates an image in the reader's head of a place devoid of features. The rigid compartmentalized structure of the poem portrays the regularity of life, and how it is meaningless and without purpose. ...read more.

Conclusion

Frost's use of setting and language impacts very differently on the two poems. In 'Stopping By', we see how the narrator seems to relish in the idea of isolation, as if it would serve as a guilty pleasure, and the language used to describe the landscape or setting portrays these feelings with great power, displaying the narrators emotive language towards how the landscape and his feelings coincide. In 'Desert Places', we see that the narrator does not feel the same way - he portrays a fear of being lost in the wide open space of nothingness, such as a large field, or the night sky, the setting of which is used to show his fear of isolation and solitude. We can see from both poems that Frost makes great use of language to create an image or setting in our head upon which a series of events can unfold; each new character brings with it a different twist on how the setting will interact with the character and how the characters feelings will edit the scenario. Even though both poems feature heavily the idea of solitude and isolation, the characters in each poem react very differently toward such notions. Will Lilley ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The last paragraph is quite generalised and needs to achieve a deeper level of comparison and contrast. The writer shows a good knowledge of both texts and an ability to analyse poetic techniques, but needed to structure the essay around their similarities and differences in order to avoid consecutive descriptions. ***

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 21/02/2012

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