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Comparative Essay: Frost and Tennyson

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Shafika Taylor Per. 03 Mrs. K IB English 1-2 Comparative Essay: Frost and Tennyson Robert Frost and Alfred Tennyson approached very similar subjects, but used different literary devices to represent them. Frost utilizes rhyme scheme, personification, and references to nature, while Tennyson employs allusions to Greek mythology, imagery, and metaphors. Responsibility is a theme that they both touch on time and time again, although the way they approach it is different. Poems "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" and," Birches", both relate to responsibility, as do Tennyson's "Ulysses" and "Lotus Eater". In poems, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", by Frost, and "Ulysses", by Tennyson, the reader is being introduced to two individuals. The similarity between these two poems is that the individuals both recognize that they do have responsibilities, but the way they approach and deal with them is different. The individual in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" comes to this wonderful peaceful place, and wants to just stop and rest, and enjoy the scenery. Frost refers to nature and rhyme scheme to express the speaker's desire for rest, and a stop to his endless burdens. The first thing that comes to mind with this line is calmness and serenity, "He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow." ...read more.


The poem develops on, and Ulysses says, "Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' gleams that untravell'd world," (ll. 19, 20). Imagery makes it easier for the reader to picture this scene in her mind. Ulysses wants to leave his responsibilities behind. His responsibilities are such a burden and traveling is more alluring. But this doesn't mean that Ulysses has forgotten about his responsibilities entirely; Telemachus is there to fill in for him. Ulysses seems a little guilty about leaving his son behind with his duties by him saying, "Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere of common duties," (ll. 39, 40). Tennyson words the sentence different. Instead of him saying, "he is blameless", he says, "most blameless is he", which makes Ulysses guilt fairly stand out. But unlike the individual in Frost's poem, he leaves his responsibility on his son for pleasure, while the other individual foregoes this pleasure for the sake of responsibility. The second two poems being compared are "Birches" and "Lotus Eaters" which both deal directly with the theme of responsibility. In the poem "Birches", the speaker talks about his time as a young boy and how he would like to, now as a grown man, go back from time to time, when the going gets tough, and revisit that light, carefree, youth again. ...read more.


When life was carefree and good. Frost implies through this poem that life is full of responsibility and its good to do them, but even the most responsible wish for a break every once and a while. In the next poem by Tennyson, Tennyson approaches the theme of responsibility a little differently. Again Tennyson is using Ulysses, but this time he is with his man. And instead of the men in the poem, after a brief spell and relaxing, go back to there homes and resume life, they stay on the Island of the Lotus Eaters. The poem starts off with the men arriving on the Island, and Ulysses observes, "And like a downward smoke, the slender stream along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem." (ll. 8, 9). Everything on the island is moving so slow. The stream seems to fall, then pause, then fall again. The imagery creates a picture as if the reader is there at the scene. Then the people of the island come out and welcome them with a plant: the lotus flower. After the Men eat them they start singing. Tennyson again utilizes diction with the line, " Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes." (ll. 51). The repetition of the word "tir'd" emphasizes exactly how tired the men have become. ...read more.

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