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Write a critical appreciation of Robert Frost's 'The Wood Pile', noting to what extent it seems typical of Frost's poetic interests and techniques.

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Write a critical appreciation of Robert Frost's 'The Wood Pile', noting to what extent it seems typical of Frost's poetic interests and techniques. "The wood pile" is an ambiguous, enigmatic poem whose meaning cannot be immediately discerned by the reader. Even in the first line of the poem, "out walking in the frozen swamp one grey day", the environment seems to be cold and bleak, adding to this sense of divisive atmosphere. It can even be said the poem might be anticipated to be hard to read with this complex environment. The next few lines start already to show the perplexity of the narrator as he decides on whether to go on or turn back. He first thought that he will "turn back from here". And on the next line he immediately changes his mind to "go further - and we shall see". We, as the reader, wonder why he has this sudden change on mind. Is he finding something, or perhaps trying to escape? As the narrative himself ventures on into the unknown, we as the reader are also implacably drawn in to follow him in his journey. ...read more.


The woodpile in itself is complex. It is formed out of wood, a part of nature, yet its assembling is by human hands, it can be said to be a mix of both, a blend of man and nature. Yet, when Frost writes, the "tree" which held the woodpile continues to grow, while the man-made structure of the "stake and prop" are "about to fall". The environment overwhelms and destroys any form of human orderliness which is being imposed on it. In the final few lines, the narrator himself is taken aback. He cant believe there can be a creator who moves on from form to form, "forget(ting) his own handiwork". The creator of the woodpile moves on with little concern for how others perceive what he has done. Yet, here the narrator clearly is concerned with the woodpile and how come is it left to waste. But is it really left to waste? Or has the woodpile some purpose? At the end of the poem, the narrator himself finds meaning and purpose for the woodpile, "to warm the frozrn swamp as best as it could/With the slow smokeless burning of decay". ...read more.


Frost has a reputation for 'simplicity'. Even in "woodpile", we see that the poem is short, like many of Frost's other poems like "mowing" or "love and a question". However, "woodpile" can be said to be different from most other Frost poems in that it is not written in stanza form like "tuft of flowers". What remains similar however, would be the regular iambic meter found which helps lend itself to Frost's simplicity in writing, and helps to keep the poem accessible. Frost also enjoys writing in quatrain. However, this is not seen in "woodpile" as it is with other poems like "on a tree fallen across the road". The presence of rhyme is also scant in "woodpile", which is atypical of Frost, as in "mowing", the poem is abundantly filled with rhyming couplets whereas in "woodpile", the lack of rhyme seems to contribute to the sort of complex natural environment. Therefore, it can be seen that though the woodpile may be pretty different from other Frost poems in terms of structure and form, the simplicity it contains, together with the ordinary topic in focus, allows itself to blend in perfectly with Frost's other poems and is another way in which Frost is able to find meaning in. ...read more.

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