- Join over 1.2 million students every month
- Accelerate your learning by 29%
- Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
AS and A Level: Robert Frost
Meet our team of inspirational teachers
Writing about context in Robert Frost's poetry
- 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 Frost believed that writing in free verse was like ‘playing tennis without a net.'
- 3 His poems are not experimental in form or technique, but infuse traditional structures with modern idiom and the rhythms of speech.
- 4 Many of Frost’s poems are dramatic monologues, conveying a strong sense of ‘voice’.
- 5 Frost referred to poetry as a ‘refrigeration technique’ which ‘stops language from going bad’.
Themes in Frost's work
- 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 Frost makes strong use of the environment to reflect on the inner state of his narrators or express the relationship between characters.
- 3 Consider the use of paths, woods, walls to reflect symbolically on destiny.
- 4 Similarly, Frost makes strong references to the sea, darkness, snow as more abstract symbols of death and unknowingness.
- 5 Dramatic monologues often serve to reinforce the distance and isolation between the ‘voice’ and those about him.
Poetic techniques used by Frost
- 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 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 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 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 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
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost relates on both a literal and metaphoric level to the concept of a journey.3 star(s)
These techniques include simple yet powerful imagery, word choice and rhyme and rhythm. Also vital in the effectiveness of this poem is the use of symbolism and the extended metaphor present. Literally this man is a traveller standing at the divergence of two roads. Metaphorically this man is in the 'autumn' of his life, suggested by the "yellow wood" and has come to the crossroads where decisions have to be made to determine the rest of his life. The subject chose "the road not taken" by others and although he ponders what lies down the unknown at the end of his life he is reminiscent and satisfied "I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference."
- Word count: 1138
Write a critical appreciation of Mending Wall exploring how far you think that Frost uses his observations of a simple rural event to make a significant conclusion.3 star(s)
a game to him; in line 21, he states that it is "just another kind of outdoor game" and incorporates the childish idea of magic into his 'game' - claiming that he needs to use "a spell to make [the stones] balanced". In this simple and gentle view of rebuilding the wall, comes an element of sadness, when Frost must challenge the reasoning behind the wall. Whilst looking at the poem from this point of view, we can suggest that Frost builds the wall for the wall's own sake - he sees it as yearly task which must be carried out, in somewhat a ceremonial fashion.
- Word count: 935
Discuss Frosts use of language and setting in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and compare with Desert Places.3 star(s)
There are several other examples of his thoughts towards the Woods, and how he perceives the place to be peaceful, with a sense of great beauty and awe. He clearly states this in stanza 4; "The woods are lovely, dark and deep". By fitting 'lovely' and 'dark' together, we can begin to see that his view towards being isolated in the Woods is one which he relishes in - the idea of the woods being 'deep' suggests that he is free to roam about within a large enclosed area and still be isolated to himself.
- Word count: 1657