Analysis of Robert Frost's Desert Places

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Analysis of Robert Frost's Desert Places

Robert Frost's 'Desert Places' is a testament to the harrowing nature of solidarity. By subjecting the narrator to the final moments of daylight on a snowy evening, an understanding about the nature of blank spaces and emptiness becomes guratively

illuminated. The poem's loneliness has the ability to transcend

nature and drill a hole through the mind of the narrator so that

all hope for relationships with man and nature are abandoned.

In the first stanza, ?snow? and ?night? are juxtaposed to

create a sense of loneliness and emptiness. Meaning is derived

from the effects they have on their surroundings and on the

narrator. Here, snow has the qualities of an arid and formless

white sheet. Anything it covers immediately loses shape and

form. Snow blankets the ground to hide what is there, leaving

nothing but a blank slate where more vigorous objects have been

seen before. Night parallels the snow in that it obscures vision

and generates an absence of light. These two stark agents of

oblivion occupy their surroundings to create the effect of


The effect of speed upon the nature of the snow and night

startles the narrator in the first line: ?Snow falling and night

falling fast, oh, fast? (1). They both fall with such rapidity

that the narrator almost misses the effects of the pair on the

field he ?looked into going past? (2). The envelopment of the

narrator?s surroundings becomes a jarring experience, as he/she

only has a few moments to observe what is happening. The

narrator is able to observe only the ?few weeds and stubble

showing last,? (4) as the dense blanket created by the ominous pair becomes apparen...

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...nkind is doomed by his/her own thought.

The ability of nature to obstruct vision mirrors mans? ability to

displace meaning. Man can eliminate nature, god, or fellow man

using this method, though this will leave us to be as lonely and

meaningless as the blank spaces that surround the void of infinity. The poem calls into question mans? ability to create

meaning from his/her surroundings. Is mankind really so desolate

and lonely? ?Desert Places? shows us that loneliness dominates

in the absence of light. A frightening statement about the

bottomless pit of loneliness is found within the repetition,

absence of description, and domineering nature of internalized

despair in Robert Frost?s ?Desert Places.?

Works Cited:

Frost, Robert. The Poetry of Robert Frost, ed Edward Connery Lathem.

New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1969.
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