Analysis of imagery and meaning in robert frost's poem 'in white'.

12,346 views

Published on

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
12,346
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
211
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
35
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Analysis of imagery and meaning in robert frost's poem 'in white'.

  1. 1. A N A LY S I S O F I M A G E RY A N D MEANING IN ROBERT FROST'S DESIGN Amer Mahmood yousaf ENGLISH DEPTT. Govt. Islamia College Civil lines Lahore.
  2. 2.  A dented spider like a snow drop white On a white Heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of lifeless satin cloth Saw ever curious eye so strange a sight? Portent in little, assorted death and blight Like the ingredients of a witches' broth? The beady spider, the flower like a froth, And the moth carried like a paper kite.
  3. 3.  What had that flower to do with being white, The blue prunella every child's delight. What brought the kindred spider to that height? (Make we no thesis of the miller's plight.) What but design of darkness and of night? Design, design! Do I use the word aright?
  4. 4.  Frost's poem "In White" is the first draft of what became to be the poem "Design". The differences are minimal, only some grammar changes that don't affect the overall meaning of the poem.
  5. 5.  Robert Frost's poem Design depicts a white spider preying on a moth. In this two stanza poem, Frost uses this image as a metaphor for the world made in God's image and the evil that seems to have infiltrated it. Frost uses the relationship between the "white heal-all" and the white spider to ask whether God's design truly applies universally. That is to say, does God's worldly design apply to something as minute as the workings of a spider? If it does not, does God's design apply to the actions of people?
  6. 6. THEME  Robert Frost's poem Design depicts a white spider preying on a moth. In this two stanza poem, Frost uses this image as a metaphor for the world made in God's image and the evil that seems to have infiltrated it. Frost uses the relationship between the "white heal-all" and the white spider to ask whether God's design truly applies universally. That is to say, does God's worldly design apply to something as minute as the workings of a spider? If it does not, does God's design apply to the actions of people?
  7. 7.  The first stanza of Frost's poem Design sets the scene and tone of the poem in its entirety. The poem begins innocently enough stating "I found a dimpled spider, fat and white." There is no apparent underlying meaning to this, just that the speaker happened to stumble upon a spider, a mere image. The second and third lines of the stanza continue to set the scene saying, "On a white heal-all, holding up a moth like a white piece of rigid satin cloth." Frost's use of the term rigid begins to shift the tone of the poem, as rigid carries a cadaverous connotation. The tone darkens further as Frost refers to the scene in the next line as "Assorted characters of death and blight." Here, as the spider is the main player in the scene described, Frost characterizes the spider as a "character" with evil intentions.
  8. 8.  Frost continues this notion in the following two lines saying "Mixed ready to begin the morning right, like the ingredients of a witches broth." Frost's referral to the spider's work as "the ingredients of a witch's broth" implies that the spider's ritual is very methodical, yet done with some form of wicked pleasure. Frost easily could have referred to the spider's "morning right" as a sort of recipie. However, his comparisons of the spider's morning ritual to that of a "witch's broth" furthers the evil connection. Frost ends the stanza outlines the "ingredients" of said "broth" listing "A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth, and dead wings carried like a paper kite." This image of "dead wings" cements the idea that the intentions of the spider are of a malevolent nature and thus resentful.
  9. 9.  The second stanza of his poem reveals Frost's underlying meaning. He asks three pointed questions: "What had that flower to do with being white, the wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, then steered the white moth thither in the night? What but design of darkness to appall? If design govern a thing so small." These questions, while seemingly referring to the scene of the spider and its prey, boil down to the poem's underlying meaning: How can evil exist in a world if the world in it's entirety is governed by God? Delving deeper, one can see that this question informs the first stanza as well as the last. The spider, initially described as being white, the color of innocence, reveals itself wicked. Frost uses the image of this white spider on a "white heal-all" as a metaphor for the evil that is tarnishing the world that is supposedly created in God's image. That is to say, Frost uses the "white heal-all" as a metaphor for the world as created in God's image, the moth being included in this supposedly innate innocence, while the spider represents the malevolence hidden within it.
  10. 10.  The choice of flower, a "white heal-all," further adds a layer of irony as death is occurring on a flower with medicinal capabilities. This irony further informs the metaphor, and this the meaning of this image. Frost ultimately asks whether God could really be governing the actions of this spider, a minutia in the world as a whole. If God does not govern this workings of this spider, who is to say that God governs and oversees the workings of people? The spider and the moth, then, both represent peoples in the world, the flower representing the Earth. This idea begins to counter all notions of God we have, that perhaps God is not really looking over our every action. Perhaps people are as minute in his eyes as the spider: something to be overlooked.

×