preview

Hardships in Birches by Robert Frost

Hardships in Birches by Robert Frost

In any life, one must endure hardship to enjoy the good times.

According to Robert Frost, the author of "Birches", enduring life's

hardships can be made easier by finding a sane balance between one's

imagination and reality. The poem is divided into four parts: an

introduction, a scientific analysis of the bending of birch trees, an

imaginatively false analysis of the phenomenon involving a New England

farm boy, and a reflective wish Frost makes, wanting to return to his

childhood. All of these sections have strong underlying philosophical

meanings. Personification, alliteration, and other sound devices

support these meanings and themes.

Frost supports the theme by using language to seem literal, yet if one

visualizes the setting and relates it to life, the literal and

figurative viewpoints can be nearly identical. Take this example:

"Life is too much like a pathless wood". This simile describes how one

can be brought down by the repetitive routine of day-to-day life, but

only if one processes the barren, repetitive forest scene that Frost

paints in that sentence. Sound devices also add to the effect of the

poem. Frost gives the image of the morning after an ice storm, as the

ice cracks on the birch trees: "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 /

Scattering and avalanching on the snow crust--" The repeating /s/,

/z/, and /k/, sounds in this passage are strong examples of

alliteration, and sound devices are crucial in the image presented;

calm, reflecting, and romanticizing, like a quiet walk in the woods.

The /k/ sound is the sound...

... middle of paper ...

...cs implies that the upper

thrust of birch swinging gives a taste of heaven, as was stated

earlier involving ice storms: " Such heaps of broken glass to sweep

away / You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen." The speaker

finds that swinging on a birch tree gives one a piece of heaven. The

ups and downs of the birch trees offer various contrasting experiences

that the speaker uses to keep himself sane. These rises and falls

represent heaven and earth, the difference of truth and realism,

rigidity and reckless enjoyment, adulthood and childhood, and flight

and return. These ups and downs are what Frost strives for. He lives

as a poet to constantly ride these birch trees, so he can find the

compromise between these figurative pleasures and pains, and according

to him, there is no better occupation:

"One could do worse than be a swinger of birches."
Get Access