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AS and A Level: Robert Frost

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Writing about context in Robert Frost's poetry

  1. 1 Frost’s poetry spans the first half of the 20th century and is considered by some to combine 19th century American tradition with 20th century modernism.
  2. 2 Frost believed that writing in free verse was like ‘playing tennis without a net.'
  3. 3 His poems are not experimental in form or technique, but infuse traditional structures with modern idiom and the rhythms of speech.
  4. 4 Many of Frost’s poems are dramatic monologues, conveying a strong sense of ‘voice’.
  5. 5 Frost referred to poetry as a ‘refrigeration technique’ which ‘stops language from going bad’.

Themes in Frost's work

  1. 1 Frost often addresses the theme of loneliness and isolation. His narrators are invariably alone, trapped in nostalgic reflection, debating their ‘promises’ or duties to others and assessing the significance of structures which exist to impose boundaries and borders between individuals.
  2. 2 Frost makes strong use of the environment to reflect on the inner state of his narrators or express the relationship between characters.
  3. 3 Consider the use of paths, woods, walls to reflect symbolically on destiny.
  4. 4 Similarly, Frost makes strong references to the sea, darkness, snow as more abstract symbols of death and unknowingness.
  5. 5 Dramatic monologues often serve to reinforce the distance and isolation between the ‘voice’ and those about him.

Poetic techniques used by Frost

  1. 1 Frost adheres to regular rhythms but makes more erratic use of rhyme. When identifying these, be sure to comment on how these inform and shape the meanings of the poem.
  2. 2 Interestingly, it is also useful to look at exceptions, which break up the regularity of the rhythm and draw attention to particular moments in the poem.
  3. 3 Frost is generally praised for emulating the natural sounds of speech and thought in his poetry: look for evidence of varying sentence lengths, repetition, inversion, colloquialism, parenthesis, hyphenation and pausing (caesura).
  4. 4 Avoid confusing the narrator of the poems with Frost himself, however closely the content resembles his life. Refer to the voice as the ‘narrator’ or ‘persona’.
  5. 5 Frost’s language is often simple, earthy and prosaic, reflecting a vernacular in keeping with his New England identity. Consider the ways in which this informs our interpretation of his poetry.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 3
  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
  1. Free essay

    Fros's peorty is more about people than nature. Discuss

    It looks into the choices that people make and uses the metaphor of two roads in order to show this. He acknowledges that he is unable to travel down both "I could not travel both", so is forced to travel one. He chooses to take the one that is less travelled by "I took the one less travelled by" and by doing so decides to seize the day and express himself as an individual, claiming that his life was fundamentally different than it would have been had he chosen the more well travelled path.

    • Word count: 2621
  2. Commentarty: Mending Wall by Robert Frost

    This shows that Frost's poem about a neighbour who insists on having a wall between his property and the next is simply a metaphor for the walls and barriers that we set in society. This commentary will explain some of the techniques that Frost uses and also the ideas which he wished to convey in his poem "Mending Wall". The title "Mending Wall" has aroused many questions for critics; what did Frost mean by calling his poem "Mending Wall"? Some say that it is a personification of the wall; others say that it is the name of the annual process of rebuilding the wall.

    • Word count: 2134
  3. Dead Poets Society

    Finally, Dead Poets Society touches on finding one's voice and doing what one believes is right. However, Dead Poets Society is not the only place these lessons are shown. They are also displayed in numerous poems and quotations, which only emphasizes their importance. 'To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time', written by Robert Herrick, a quotation from Henry Thoreau, 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost, and the "Carpe Diem- Seize the Day" are only a few examples. 'To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time' by Robert Herrick is about using one's lifetime well and following one's dreams while we are still young.

    • Word count: 2180
  4. How does Ratsushinskaya depict her suffering? Discuss with reference to two poems.

    Which shows her determination to survive the regime, and how it would never make her stop writing her poetry. Irina Ratushinskaya has written many poems, most of which portray her will to survive and also the torture she went through in the camp. Two examples of her poetry that show this well are, 'I will Travel Through the land' and 'I will Live and Survive'. These two poems are different as they explain different aspects of being in a labour camp, however they both depict suffering and focus on some of the same themes. In 'I will Travel Trough the Land', Irina Ratushinskaya uses her emotions to tell the reader about getting moved from one labour camp to another.

    • Word count: 2169
  5. Robert Frost Selected Poems - 'The Road Not Taken' and 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening' - Analysis and Appreciation

    However, they mainly concentrate on conveying a much deeper, more intense message. The teachings of Robert Frost are often very emotional. I very much enjoy reading his poems and trying to interpret their true meanings. I found that writing this essay made me understand the poems that I had already read many times even more clearly. 'The Road Not Taken' is a very thoughtful and meaningful poem. The traditional but experimental and unique verses attract readers to the poem, as they are different from other poems.

    • Word count: 2530
  6. Robert Frost said that a poem should

    After cleaning the 'pasture spring' he considers waiting 'to watch the water clear', this can be interpreted in different ways. Perhaps he wanted to make sure he had done the job properly, or it could be that he takes delight in watching the waters clear and wants to wait watch 'it clear' or perhaps it could be simply that he wants the moment to last, as he enjoys it so. In life I generally find that things I do not enjoy drag on and on, seemingly taking longer that they actually are, yet things that I enjoy seem to go faster.

    • Word count: 2215
  7. Robert Frost

    Born to Isabelle Moodie and William Frescott Frost Jr on March 26 1874. During his childhood he didn't attend school, however he was taught by his mother during the first ten years of his life. He began to attend school during the fifth grade at the same time that his mother was teaching his class. He enjoyed school and soon entered Lawrence High school, where his talent was soon discovered and he published his first poem in the high school bulletin in April of 1890. Robert Frost's talent helped him start a job as a reporter for his high school from which he married Elinor White who just like him was also the valedictorian at their graduation.

    • Word count: 2193

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare the poems "Hard Frost" and "winter the Huntsman". Decide which poem paints the best picture.

    "In the end both poems are different in imagery but the best image in my opinion is the one in hard frost because it's the Christmas that everyone tends to see. However winter the huntsman is more realistic but it is a image of winter that people don't want to see, because of the holiday of Christmas."

  • Closely analyse the poems 'Sacifice' by Taufiq Rafat and 'Out, Out' by Robert Frost. Explain what the poems tell us about the cultures from which they originate.

    "I liked the fact that Frost uses particular techniques such as, personification, repetition, onomatopoeia, and word structure, which produced a precise rhythm to the poem. Another bit of this poem I liked is that throughout the poem the buzz saw is personified and is given human and animal like qualities. 'And the saw snared and rattled, snarled and rattled as it ran light or had to bear a load'. This I found suggests that the saw is in fact some kind of creature, which may posses more power than the boy. To some up I think that Frost's ideas of life and death, the harshness of life's demands, and how he shows personal interest in the way in which individuals deal with life's issues such as death are clearly reflected in the poem 'Out, Out'. I think that this was a great poem to read."

  • How does Ratsushinskaya depict her suffering? Discuss with reference to two poems.

    "Overall, Irina Ratushinskaya depicts her suffering in the hard labour camp very sincerely. She uses both physical conditions and emotional heartache to display to the reader the true extent of her suffering. Ratushinskaya uses different subjects such as family and friendships to show her determination and the strong perseverance, which she holds. Although the two poems are different they both use descriptive verbs and show how Ratushinskaya tried to convince herself that the prison did not affect her. However in certain places in her poetry it can be seen that she is missing her family and that she is being haunted by old memories she doesn't want to get caught up in. She uses poetic devices such as caesura, enjambment and a semantic field of war to demonstrate her emotions, without actually telling the reader how she is feeling. Irina Ratushinskaya can be quite informative about her ordeal, giving the reader detailed events, in which she went through. In conclusion Ratushinskaya's suffering is depicted in both poems in an effective way, allowing the reader to relate to what she is going through. 5 1"

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