Robert Frost: Iceman for the Ages

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Robert Frost is often known as one of the greatest American poets of all time. Although he is sometimes remembered as hateful and mean spirited, his life was filled with highs and lows. These differentiating periods are represented throughout his poetry. Frost once said that “A poem begins in delight, and ends in wisdom.” As can be seen, this quote not only reflected his poetry, but his life. Though many years of his life were troubled by misfortune, Frost always seemed to persevere. Robert Frost was a talented, thoughtful poet whose life was filled with complexity and tragedy (brainyquote.com).
Robert Lee Frost began life in San Francisco on March 26, 1874. For an unknown reason, Frost believed for years that he was actually born in 1875. When Frost’s father died in 1885 his mother decided to move closer to her wealthy parents in Massachusetts. In California, Frost had dropped out of kindergarten after one day, and upon returning to the first grade, also dropped out. This was no deterrent on Frost to attend college. He was accepted to Harvard but instead attended Dartmouth because of his financial situation. Even though Frost found the school to be anything but challenging, he would not finish his time at Dartmouth, nor earn any formal degree in a school (Bengtsson). He once said of schooling that “Education is hanging around until you’ve caught on.” Interestingly enough, Robert Frost held several postions at credible schools, including Amherst and Harvard. Also, Frost was awarded an incredible amount of honorary degrees from Berkley to Yale (Parini 59). Frosts careers also ranged from editing for Henry Holt to raising poultry on his Derry, New Hampshire farm.
Robert Frost is undoubtedly gifted when it comes to his poetry, but not all aspects of his life were so easy. One of the most troubling areas in Frost’s life was his family. He held a long term engagement to his wife Elinor, whom he pleaded to marry. Also, his children were plagued with birth defects, terminal illness, and emotional instability. The Frosts lost four of their children at an early age, including daughter Elinor Bettina who died three days after birth. In 1938, after months of deteriorating health, Frost’s wife Elinor died of heart failure. Frost was so shaken that he collapsed and could not attend the memorial services. Later, in 1940, Frost was utterly disturbed by his son Carol’s suicide.

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