IRWLE VOL. 4 No. II, July 2008
Robert Frost's Major Themes -Study
The most misleading criticism on Robert Frost is that he is restricted in his handling of major themes. But it should be held true that Frost's confinement to things 'rustic' amply fed this misinterpretation. He does present at times the illusion of happily settling down with his little New England, ignoring completely the rest of the world. Frost's seeming avoidance of topical subject matter is not because of timidity. His reluctance is quite calculated as he never wanted to be characterized by topical labels. In the neat circle he scratched for himself, there is no place for sky scrappers and skid row ...view middle of the document...
To him life covers both the possibility of terror and potential of beauty. Man must educate himself to know which it is to be. It becomes the primary task of a man to understand him and his place in this world. This can be achieved by observation and self-analysis.
Frost believes that future is a natural development of the past. Just as a seedling sprouting out from the crust of soil to become a fruit, new life springs out of the last year's waste. Yesterdays lay foundation for the launch of 'new growth'. The seasons throb the very message of 'new' sprouting out of the 'old'. In 'Blue Berries' he unravels the mystery of rebirth as bery bushes sprout from the slag.
There may not have been the ghost of a sign Of them any where under the shade of the pine, But get the pine out of the way, you may burn
IRWLE VOL. 4 No. II, July 2008
The pasture all over until not a fern Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick, And presto, they're up all round you as thick, And hard to explain as a conjuror's trick. (15-21) Repetitive portrayals of harvest and mowing and in particular, poems
centered upon abandoned dwellings can be taken as evidence for Frost's belief in man's hapless position in the ever changing world. Within the terribly limited period of existence, he is destined to face the changes that take place in almost everything around him. The natural cycles preach man that he is no inevitable end, which shatters off all his hopes and dreams.
Lingering on the haplessness of man in the hands of Fate, Frost declares, 'As long as life goes on unterribly', there is no need for writing the Russian novel. The thing that can't be altered must be understood and accepted. Frost stresses in 'Acceptance', that man must learn to bow and accept the 'end', "Let what will be, be!" (14).
Among the various themes of Robert Frost, man's relationship to his fellows can be considered as an interestingly significant one as it comprises of both apartness and togetherness. Frost strongly advocates individualism. Man caught within the boundaries laid by nature, strives to achieve with whatever talents he has been granted. Frost thinks that man if isolated can't be achiever. This isolation might lead man to egocentrism or even to lonely madness. Frost always being a moderator tries to achieve an ideal reconciliation between the individual and the group.
Frost's observation regarding man's relationship to man is quite opposing. For instance, The Tuft of Flowers, speaks of the bond that lie between the individuals effecting universal brotherhood. "Men work together, I told him from the heart, / whether they work together or apart." (39-40)
In contrary to this comfortable stance, the very next volume North of Boston contain Mending the Wall in which Frost the deceptive cooperation that lies between two neighbours, who work together with no 'togetherness'. But again, in most of his poems we find Frost's people are quite willing to offer a friendly hand. The cook in A servant...