Looking at the world with a sense of wonder
American Poet Robert Lee Frost (1874- 1963) was born in in San
Francisco, California to Journalist William Prescot Frost and Isabelle
Robert Frost got married to Elinor Miriam White in 1899. He joined
Harward University from 1897 to 1899 a short period but left his own due
to heath issues.
He won four Pulitzer Prizes and in 1960 he was awarded a 'United
States Congressional Gold Medal' in recognition of his contributions to
He became a national celebrity and one of the late American
Presidents John F. Kennedy referring to Robert Frost said: He has
bequeathed his nation a body imperishable verse from which Americans
will forever given joy and understanding.'
Themes depicted in the poems compiled by Frost have been analysed on
numerous ways and sometimes misunderstood by literary critics over the
years and identified even as a highly complex poet.
Scholar Peter J. Stanlis who had associated Robert Frost for nearly
23 years had done a penetrating analysis of the general philosophy of
Robert Frost in his book: 'Robert Frost- The Poet and Philosopher.'
Frost said, "I'm a dualist''Dualism of Frost comprised matter and
mind or matter and spirit.
According to the doctrine of 'monism', reality comprised one element
spiritual or material.In tune with the philosophy of Aristotle, Frost
also believed that both matter and spirit were equally real and all
reality consisted of things in pairs of opposition and contrasts.
Frost was a great proponent of the belief that both symbolism and
metaphorical language could be used as means of conveying philosophical
wisdom based on his dualism.
Peter J. Stanlis said "Even though the poems of Frost appear to be
'lyric verse' and of simple diction on surface are really based on
highly complex philosophical dualism that opposes idealistic monism.
Frost always tried to hide the profundity of his thoughts using
simple dictions which certain literary critics found difficult to
comprehend and fell into literary traps of purposely invented by him.
In 1894 he composed his first poem 'My Butterfly' an elegy.'Out
Out','The Road not taken','Fire and Ice',' Stopping by the Woods on a
Snowy Evening' ' Nothing Gold can stay, 'After Apple Picking' ,and '
Home Burial ' are some of the popular poems composed by Robert Frost.One
of the many themes of the poems of Frost comprised man in relation to
the universe and environment which according to Frost neither hostile
nor benevolent to humanity.
He believes that 'man' is found alone in the vastness of the universe
and man's isolation from the universe or alienation and from the
environment appears to be prominent in many of his poems. In his poem
"Desert Places" Frost says 'The loneliness includes me unaware.'
New England was used as the setting of many of poems and how the
agrarian society had been isolated was depicted vividly in his poems
including the poem 'Acquainted with the Night.'
'I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far way an
interrupted cry, But not to call me bade or say good- by.' Similarly in
the poem 'Home Burrial' the woman portrays a terrible sense of
self-alienation and alienation from her surroundings. Frost tried to
convey that man was exposed to both the physical loneliness and
psychological loneliness. 'The tasteful crematorium door Shuts out for
some the furnace roar But Church-bells open on the blast Our loneliness
so long ....'
In addition, the theme of human limitation is also portrayed in his
Due to man's inborn limited faculties Frost believes the limitations
prevent him in the comprehension of the meaning and similarly the
physical, mental, real and invisible barriers have separated man from
In the poem, 'Neither Out Far nor in Deep 'man's limitation in the
mysterious universe is revealed and in 'Stopping by Woods in a Snowy
Evening' a sense of impenetrable and indefinite universe has been
highlighted by Frost.
Death and despair are some other themes constantly exploited in the
poems composed by Frost. Death is implied in the poems of ' Stopping by
Woods on a Snowy Evening', 'An Old Man's Winter Night ' and ' After
Frost as usual opens his poems with a gloomy beginning or outcome in
the mind. 'A Soldier' ,'In a disused Graveyard' and 'Nothing Gold can
Stay' reference to death is made.Death is part of war, the comparison of
the soldier to a fallen lance on the ground are symbols used to portray
death in the poems.
'In disused Graveyard' the graveyard is still visited by the living
but no dead people are being buried there. Robert Frost was in the habit
of using a lot of imagery and symbolism throughout his poems to portray
his feelings on death, despair, loneliness and isolation.
In the poem 'Fire and Ice' destruction due to excess of desire and
hatred have been portrayed symbolically.
'Some say the world will end in fire,Some say in Ice, From what I've
tasted of desire, I hold with those whose favour fire.'