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Birches: Loneliness, Love, and Desire to Achieve
Robert Frost uses the poem Birches to illustrate his personal experience about three things through the bending of the trees. The three things are loneliness, love, and desire to achieve.
Frost's description of loneliness is provided immediately after he first refers to himself with his specific description in Line 20. There he states "I should prefer to have some boy bend (the birches)". He describes the loneliness of his youth lifestyle writing that he was a boy on a farm "too far from town to learn baseball Whose only play was found in himself". The most exciting thing to do for him was the swinging of birches. His attempts to "conquer" loneliness were demonstrated through the vehicle of the birches. Frost goes on to describe perhaps the most valuable lesson he learned as a child trying to overcome loneliness, the lesson of "practice makes perfect". Frost states "He always kept his poise to the top of the branches climbing carefully with...pains...Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish kicking his way down through the air to the ground." He learned here that there are times in life when you will conquer a situation and then be done with it. Then you will fly away joyfully knowing you have conquered it.
Love is one of those situations. Frost has apparently been hurt by love before stating "I'd like to get away from earth And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return." Apparently his heart has been ripped away by a lost love. He may think this is because he submitted vulnerably to her. If he had a chance to do it again, he might not submit himself so much to the next thief. However, he definitely has the desire to achieve love.
His desire to achieve is described when he states how he would like to achieve love. Frost states "I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb...toward heaven (the top or ultimate of his desire, be it love or something else) till the tree (or the world) could bear not more, But dipped its tip and set me down again.
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Frost ends his poem stating his satisfaction with overcoming loneliness and love and benefiting from the desire to achieve by writing, "One could do worse than be a swinger of birches".