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A comparison of two poems by Robert Frost: “Ghost House” and “A Cabin in the Clearing”.

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Introduction

A comparison of two poems by Robert Frost: "Ghost House" and "A Cabin in the Clearing". The first of the two poems, "Ghost House" is formally structured. It is made up of six stanzas, each with five lines. It has a strict rhyme scheme: the first, second and last lines of each stanza rhyme, as do the third and fourth lines. This creates two neat rhyming couplets in each stanza, with the final line appearing disjointed as if it were an addition. This echoes the sentiments of belonging, in contrast with isolation and loneliness, that Frost expresses in the text. The tone of this poem is established immediately by the title. Although it is a commonly used phrase, and is also quite brief, the words "Ghost House" have uneasy and frightening implications. The poet has created an eerie mood in the poem that is contributed to by the use of the narrator character, the unknown "I". The question of who, or what, this character is has been intentionally left unanswered by Frost, as well as many other questions. This encourages the reader to think more deeply about the poem, as the answers are not obvious, and in most cases not revealed at all. Unanswered questions instil in the reader a sense of instability and confusion, which serves to enhance the atmosphere of the poem. ...read more.

Middle

This conveys a sense of mystery, as the reader is not informed to whom the stones belong. There are a number of themes that recur through the text. The last two stanzas are primarily concerned with the "mute folk", who cohabit the house. They are introduced abruptly, relatively late in the poem. They are mentioned casually, and it appears as if the narrator makes the assumption that the audience is already aware of their existence. This indicates that they are a permanent presence in the narrator's life, and are a concern to him. It is not clear who, or what, these people are, just as it is with the narrator. This sense of confusion is reinforced many times. There is an entire stanza devoted to the apparently irrelevant "whippoorwill". This could be simply to create atmosphere, and to contrast with the shock of the next stanza in which the "mute folk" are introduced. The "mute folk" are described as "tireless folk, but slow and sad" with the possible partial exception of two individuals, referred to only as "lass and lad". It is possible that these two people are not as sad as the rest of their peers because they have a connection; they "belong" to each other. One theme of the poem is loneliness and isolation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The two characters seem to hold different opinions of the "sleepers", with mist appearing more accusatory and demanding of them, while smoke is more sympathetic. Both narrators appear not to understand the actions of the people There are many similarities between the two poems. Both have narrator characters, and the perspective of these characters is the same. In "Ghost House" the narrator is an observer of the "mute folk", while in the second poem the narrators are observers of the "sleepers". However in the first poem there is only one narrator, who expresses one view, and in the second poem there are two narrators who express two different and slightly conflicting views. The narrators in the two poems have different attitudes towards the people that they are watching. In the first poem the reader is given the impression that the narrator would like to communicate with the "mute folk" but is unable to. In the second poem it seems as if the narrators could communicate with the "sleepers" if they wanted to, but they choose the role of observers voluntarily. However in both poems the narrators seem removed from the world of those they observe. In "Ghost House" this removal becomes isolation, and the audience is made to feel more sympathetic towards this narrator than the equivalent characters in "A Cabin in the Clearing", as in this poem the narrators have a bond with each other, and are not as dependant on the "sleepers" ...read more.

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