Robert Frost

Robert Frost

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Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874. His parents were Isabel Moodie and William Prescott Frost, Jr (Bio).His father was a drinker and a gambler, which upset the whole family. On June 25, 1876, Robert's sister Jeannie was born (Bio). In 1879, Frost entered kindergarten however, came home because of nervous stomach pain and did not return afterward. The next year, he tried going to the first grade, but dropped out again. The same thing happened the next year after that. He was home schooled.

In 1885 his father died (Bio). He died of tuberculosis on May 5, leaving his family with only $8.00 after all his expenses were paid. After his death, the family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts to live with their grandparents. While his younger sister was entering fourth grade, he got tested and entered third grade. The next year, the family moved to Salem Depot, New Hampshire, where his mom started teaching fifth through eighth grade (Bio).

In 1888, he passed the entrance exam so that he could enter Lawrence High School. The next year, he finished at the top of his class. After that year, he started really getting into poetry. His first published poem was "La Noche Triste," in the Lawrence High School Bulletin. The next month, "The Song of the Wave" was published (Bio). In 1891, Frost passed the entrance exams to get into Harvard. When he was there, he met and fell in love with Elinor Miriam White. The next year he became engaged to her.

Since he had to depend on his grandparents for money, he entered Dartmouth College because it was cheaper. That December, he left college because he was bored with it and wanted something to do. In 1893, he taught a rowdy eighth grade glass for a couple of weeks (Bio). Then he tried to convince Elinor to marry him before he went to
St. Lawrence University in New York, but she said no. Through the rest of the 1890's, Frost worked as a teacher, farmer, and an editor.

In 1912, Frost moved to England for a while. Everyone liked his poetry and that was where he started to get famous. He met some other famous poets there, like William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound (Bio). When Frost returned to the United States from England, he started to receive many awards. One of his proudest achievements was when he got to recite his work at John F.

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Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

At the end of his career, he was very popular publicly, but the poetry collections he was coming out with were not receiving such huge reviews as they used to. Through 1962 and 1963, Frost's health started to go downhill. He got pneumonia and was hospitalized, and cancer was found in his prostate and bladder (Frost's life). On December 23, he had an embolism. On January 7, he suffered another one. He died on January 29, 1963 (Bio).

Frost's poetry is known for its plain language, conventional. He was influenced a lot by classical poets. Some people like him because he is such a straightforward writer. In his poems, he writes using a lot of different moods. "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost is an enjoyable poem that is a metaphor for life. On a superficial level, this poem is about someone walking through the woods, coming to two possible ways to go, and then choosing one. The narrator chooses the one less traveled, and later says that they do not regret it. The underlying meaning of "The Road Not Taken" is that the narrator is using the woods and paths as a metaphor for the choices people have to make in life. That is the main theme of the poem. It is obvious from lines six to ten that the narrator took the path that was less traveled. In other words, the narrator did not follow the crowd, but instead made his own choice. The structure of the poem is that the narrator is talking about how he had two choices, chose one, and then later in his life looked back and realized he did not regret it. It shows that time has passed because the speaker is talking in the past tense at the end of the poem. There are many poetic devices in "The Road Not Taken." The first one that jumps out at the reader is the use of figurative language. One knows this from reading the poem because the poem is meant to be read with the idea that it has an fundamental meaning. It is not meant to be read as a story about a man walking in the woods and having to decide which trail he wants to take. Frost meant for the reader to read what is happening in the story and then to interpret the idea that it is a metaphor for life's choices. Another poetic device Frost uses is imagery. Frost uses imagery when he describes the setting (the woods) to get the reader to see it in their mind. This is obvious from lines one to five when he is writing about the "two roads diverged in a yellow wood." He describes the woods, but does it in a way that the reader will understand that the two roads symbolize two choices.

In an article published in South Atlantic Quarterly, John T. Ogilvie suggests that the road is a metaphor for the "writerly life." (Ogilvie) He says that "the choice the speaker makes here leads deeper into the wood which…though they hold a solitary privacy, impose a stern isolation endured not without cost" (Ogilvie). Ogilvie is going into the emotions portrayed in the poem. Other critics are pretty harsh about the poem and about Frost as a poet in general. In an article in The Yale Review, Isadore Traschen accuses Frost of "unrestrained sentimentality" (Traschen). Traschen is agreeing that most people are attracted to this poem because its ideas are familiar and many people prefer romantic ideas to realistic ones.

Through the use of poetic devices, figurative language and imagery, Frost has written a beautiful poem. Although some critics criticize him for writing somewhat of a romantic style poem, it does not matter because it is based as a metaphor for life. Whether it sounds like it is based on romantic ideas or not, the idea of how people face life-affecting choices everyday still holds true. The idea of life choices is not unrealistic at all. In contrast to Isadore Traschen's critique, the only unrealistic thing would be if people did not have to make choices every day, whether the idea of it is presented as a metaphor or not.

Frost's use of nature is the single most misunderstood element of his poetry. Most of Frost's poems use nature imagery. His grip and understanding of natural fact is well recognized. However Frost is not trying to tell us how nature works. His poems are about human psychology. Rural scenes and landscapes, homely farmers, and the natural world are used to illustrate a psychological struggle with everyday experience met with courage, will and purpose in the situation of Frost's life and personal psychology. His attitude is enduring, honest and accepting. Frost uses nature as a background. He usually begins a poem with an observation of something in nature and then moves toward a connection to some human situation or concern.

Frost uses nature as metaphor. He observes something in nature and says this is like that. He leads you to make a connection, but never forces it on the reader.
Frost's poems always make perfect sense. His facts are correct, especially in botanical and biological terms. But he is not trying to tell nature stories or animal stories. He is always using these metaphorically implying a comparison to some human concern.

Frost struggled all his life with a traditional view of the world and the rise of science. It is still being argued whether or not he believed in God (Frost life). Curiously, people of opposing beliefs can find justification of their views in Frost because this poet is full of contradictions. Basically he believed in an ever changing open-ended universe, which could not be explained with systematic thought, whether it be science, religion or philosophy. He declared that evolution was simply a metaphor for a changing world (Frost's life). He believed the universe was unknowable and his poems reflect the withheld judgment based on his skepticism. He declared he was not an agnostic (Frost's life).

The contradictions Frost found in the world did not bother him. He saw no reason to resolve them but believed that man acting in freedom could balance the contradictions in a sort of play. He never believed one age was worse than another (Frost's life).
The poetic and political conservatism of Frost caused him to lose favor with some literary critics, but his reputation as a major poet is secure. He unquestionably succeeded in realizing his life's ambition: to write.
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