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Complex themes & philosophical nature of poetry by

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Complex themes & philosophical nature of poetry by

  1. 1. Complex Themes & Philosophical Nature of Poetry by Robert Frost Abstract: A short Introduction to the life and poetry of Robert Frost Elizabeth Taylor English 1102 Elizabeth Owens April 21, 2011
  2. 2. Extended Abstract (Summary) <ul><li>Short Biography of Robert Frost </li></ul><ul><li>Types of Poetry written by Frost </li></ul><ul><li>Common Themes among Frost’s poetry </li></ul><ul><li>Literary Techniques practiced by Frost </li></ul><ul><li>Example of popular Literary techniques, Tones and Themes provided by excerpts of Robert Frost’s “Birches” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Robert Frost (1874–1963) <ul><li>Robert Lee Frost was born in San Francisco on March 26, 1874. </li></ul><ul><li>He graduated from high school in 1891 and shared the title of valedictorian with Elinor White, whom he later married in 1894. </li></ul><ul><li>Robert moved to England in 1912 where he became acquainted with writers such as Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves, Ezera Pound. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>In 1915, he moved back to the United States. By 1920, he was one of America’s most critically acclaimed poets. </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Frost won four Pulitzer Prize Awards in his lifetime: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New Hampshire (1923) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collected Poems (1930) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Further Range (1936) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Witness Tree (1942) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>He served as Poet Laureate of the United states from 1958-1959. </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Lee Frost died on January 29, 1963. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Common Styles of Poetry and Themes <ul><li>Pastoral Poetry – poems dealing with rustic life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Although Frost’s poetry often depicts scenes of nature he does not consider himself to be a Pastoral Poet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The majority of Frost’s Pastoral Scenes contain some form of deep philosophical insight. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Common themes among his poetry: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relationship between humanity & nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awareness of the cycle of life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone is a separate individual and collective enterprises could do nothing but weaken themselves </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Techniques of Frost <ul><li>The techniques that Frost chooses to include throughout his poetry is one of the many reasons that his work is so highly acclaimed. </li></ul><ul><li>Rhythm, is found in Frost’s poems however, it is often times seen only in the meter of the poem. </li></ul><ul><li>Frost uses vivid Imagery to connect with his readers </li></ul><ul><li>He also uses Analogies, Similes and Conceits to further promote what he is trying to convey </li></ul><ul><li>Frost is most notable for his use and perfection of conversational language </li></ul><ul><li>Frost’s favorite technique was the use of ambiguity and irony. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Birches Robert Frost (1874–1963) “ So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. ”
  8. 8. Birches <ul><li>When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy's been swinging them. But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay. Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust-- Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. But I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm </li></ul>
  9. 9. “Birches&quot; continued <ul><li>I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cows-- Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father's trees By riding them down over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about not launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. </li></ul>
  10. 10. “Birches” continued <ul><li>So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. It's when I'm weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig's having lashed across it open. I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better. I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Themes found in “Birches” <ul><li>“Earth is the right place for love / I don’t know where it is likely to go better. / I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree.” (Lines: 52-54) </li></ul><ul><li>This excerpt contains two possible themes </li></ul><ul><li>Explores the relationship between humanity and nature </li></ul><ul><li>Underlying awareness of the cycle of life or the urge to escape from reality even just for a while </li></ul>
  12. 12. Tones found in “Birches” <ul><li>“ So was I once myself a swinger of britches. / And so I dream of going back to be. / It’s when I’m weary of considerations, / And life is too much like a pathless wood / Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs / Broken across it, and one eye is weeping / From a twig’s having lashed across it open. / I’d like to get away from earth a while / And then come back to it and begin over.” (Lines: 41-49) </li></ul><ul><li>The tone of the excerpt is expressing feelings such as: </li></ul><ul><li>Nostalgia </li></ul><ul><li>Optimism </li></ul><ul><li>Despair </li></ul><ul><li>Annoyance </li></ul><ul><li>Sadness </li></ul><ul><li>Shock </li></ul><ul><li>Longing </li></ul>
  13. 13. Analogies and Similes found in “Birches” <ul><li>“Like girls on bended knee that throw their hair/ Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.” (Lines:19-20) </li></ul><ul><li>This analogy is referring to the bending of the Birch Trees due to the Ice Storm </li></ul><ul><li>Because Frost is comparing the girls to the birch trees this is also a Simile </li></ul>
  14. 14. Conceits found in “Birches” <ul><li>“I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree / And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk / Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, / But dipped it’s top and set me down again.” (Lines: 54-57) </li></ul><ul><li>A conceit is an elaborate and far fetched image, which extends a metaphor into as many layers of meaning as it will bear </li></ul>
  15. 15. Conclusion <ul><li>Robert Frost was a brilliant 19-th century poet , “Frost committed himself to the common ground he knew existed between himself and his reader. He knew that if he were to tell a pathetic story in a few common words whose weightings were part of our blood, we would respond feelingly. He is the poet most devoted to bare human gesture” </li></ul><ul><li>- Denis Donoghue. YR. Winter, 1963. p.216 </li></ul>

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