Critique of Robert Frost

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Marion Montgomery, “Robert Frost and His Use of Barriers: Man vs. Nature Toward God,” Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962. Reprinted by permission of The South Atlantic Quarterly.

Robert Frost is considered by the casual reader to be a poet of nature like that of a Wordsworth. In a sense, his poetry is about nature, yet with strong underlying tones of the drama of man in nature. Frost himself stated, “I guess I’m not a nature poet,” “ I have only written two without a human being in them (138).” Marion Montgomery’s critical essay plays with the epitaph that Frost proposes for himself in The Lesson for Today: “I have a lovers quarrel with the world.” Montgomery says, that the lovers quarrel is Frost’s poetic subject, and states, “throughout his poetry there is evidence of this view of mans’ existence in the natural world (138). The essay examines how Frost’s attitude toward nature is one with armed and amicable truce and mutual respect interwoven with boundaries of the two principles, individual man and the forces of the world. But the boundaries are insisted upon. The critical essay examines how Frost’s direct addresses of nature are often how man is essentially different from objects and features of nature. Montgomery insists, “…his trees and animals, though he speaks to them, do no take on grave countenances (140).” The jest of Montgomery’s ideal is when Frost speaks directly to or directly of natural objects or creatures, “that ...
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