American Poetry Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1408 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Literature

Robert Frost's Poetry

Robert Frost is America's poet. Living a life dedicated to poetry, Frost wrote some of the best and most-admired poetry in American literature. Frost is famous because his poetry reads well - it seems simple but there is always something else going on if one takes the time to look. Frost is also known for utilizing the literary techniques of metaphor, symbolism, and imagery. "The Road Not Taken," "Stopping by Woods," and "Design," are poems that demonstrate Frost's technique as a poet and thinker. Frost crafts poetry that allows us to see and feel - and if we take the time, we will also realize that the poet almost always has an underlying message that deals with the greater issues of life.

Frost is no stranger to symbolism. In his famous poem, "The Road Not Taken," the most powerful illustration of symbolism is the roads. The roads are symbols for choices that we face during our lives. That the poet made the choices in life roads is significant because we travel through life like we travel down roads and we seldom have the choice for a "do over." In other words, once we decide to do something, we must live with the consequences with that choice - be they good or bad. It is not as if we can back up and return to where we fist began and start over. We know this is true when the poet admits, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back" (15-5). Knowing that the choice cannot be taken back should give the poet (and us) a reason to stop and think before we act.

Another literary techniques Frost employs in his poetry are imagery and simile. In "Design," we see powerful imagery as well as examples simile. The poet presents us with the image of a larger purpose in the design of a smaller world of a country plant. The image of a stronger force at work in this little world illustrates how the poet can see beyond what is there.

Our first image is that of the "dimpled spider" (1) holding a moth whose wings are "white piece of rigid satin cloth" (3) on a curiously white plant that should be blue. While we see this image almost perfectly, we cannot help but see the ultimate image of death. To reinforce this image, the poet refers to the three subjects of his observation as "characters of death and blight" (4). We have an example of simile when the poet tells us that the subjects are like "the ingredients of a witches' broth" (6) and the moth will eventually turn into "dead wings carried like a paper kite" (8). This poem presents us with the issue of death and the afterlife shrouded in the seemingly unimportant death of a moth. Here we see how Frost uses elements of nature to focus on larger issues in life. By deliberately focusing on something that many people would overlook, the narrator makes two points - that if there is a design to anything, it must also design the smallest of events.

In "Stopping by Woods," we have examples of imagery and symbolism. Again, the poet works with images found in nature. We know the poet has paused to watch the woods "fill up with snow" (Stopping 4) on the "darkest evening of the year" (5). While we may think that the poet might be cold, the mood and tone of the poem suggest that the poet is stopping to enjoy the scenery. All is peaceful - the air is so quiet that the poet can hear the "wind and downy flake" (11) moving around him. The woods become a symbol of peace and tranquility in contrast to the real world to which the poet must return. In fact, the poet speaks with dread when he mentions the promises he must keep and "miles to go before I sleep" (15). The poem captures a moment in time that seems to linger on the perimeter of civilization.

Robert Frost is one of the most widely known American poets. His poetry lives through the years because it is complex. While the poems… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

American Poetry.  (2008, April 13).  Retrieved December 11, 2018, from

MLA Format

"American Poetry."  13 April 2008.  Web.  11 December 2018. <>.

Chicago Format

"American Poetry."  April 13, 2008.  Accessed December 11, 2018.