Life Of Robert Frost

Life Of Robert Frost

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                                   Prof. Sherlock

11/23/99                                             English 1004

The Farmer and The Father

Often in literature it is found that writers use their writing to unveil parts of their lives. Writers also let their own life experiences influence the content of their writings. We have found that the writer Franz Kafta uses the isolation and pressure received from his family to help him build the basis for his story "The Metamorphosis." These real life occurrences make the literary work more enjoyable because of its genuine composition. This theory can also be applied to the life and writings of Robert Frost. Frost's entire life, his childhood, his marriage, the birth and deaths of his children, his relationship with nature, and his thriving life are the "genetic make -up" for his writings.

     Robert Frost goes through a lot of changes as a young boy and as an adult. He is born in 1874 to Robert Lee Frost Jr., a newspaper reporter and to Isabelle Moodie, a schoolteacher. The family lives in San Francisco, California for the beginning of Frost's life. However when Frost's mother becomes unhappy with the drinking problem of Frost's father they move in with the parents of Robert Frost. Unable to withstand the criticism by the family, Isabelle returns to Robert. Frost father dies in1895 and once again the family moves. They moved to the East Coast, where Frost attends a high school in Lawrence, New Hampshire. At this school Frost meets his future wife Miriam White. Frost shares in the graduation ceremony as co-valedictorian and in his address he speaks of poets response to experience, some of which will be his own.

One year after graduation Miriam and Frost marry and Frost goes to Dartmouth College. Frost is not into his studies and leaves after only one semester. He returns to Lawrence where he works as a schoolteacher, mill hand and reporter. During this time Frost has publishes some of his writings in a weekly journal. In 1987 Frost enrolls at Harvard University to prepare himself to teach Latin, but due to an illness Frost drops out of school. Around this time in 1896 Frost's first child is born, Elliot. Elliot was the first of the five children in the Frost family. The Frosts have another child in 1899 and the next year Elliot passes away. These times become struggling times for the Frost family. Frost moves his family to Mass, where he buys a farm.

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He fails at being a farmer because he is too lazy. Frost spends most of his time writing late at night and is too tired to get up in the morning to do the farming chores. Once again he returns to teaching to support his family. He teaches from 1906-1912, the following year Frost's manuscripts are published and the next year his narrative poems are published. He moves to England and later returns to the U.S. He continues to purchase farmland as a result of his interest in botany. His wife dies in 1938 and Frost becomes very sad. He falls in love with a married woman and once again he becomes sad because he can not have her. For the continuation of his life Frost teaches at schools until he later dies in 1963. All of the events in Frost's life help to shape the symbolic meanings and concentration of his works.

The idea of Frost owning a farm, his love of nature, and the decisions he makes in his life are inaugurated when reading his poetry. These movements are reflected in "Stopping by the Woods on A Snowy Evening", and "The Road Not Taken." The feeling is "nature can be used to uncover and illustrate the underlying laws of the universe", this is the same reason why Frost uses numerous amounts of images from nature to describe certain feelings.

Frost loves the wild, which is why he invests so much money into the farmland that he buys. Before he comes to Derry, his first farm, he is an enthusiastic botanist. While at one of his farms Frost would often go walking in the woods. The property is owned by a friend who does not mind his trespasses. He is very content with these walks; they are private retreats from the busy everyday hustle and bustle. This idea of passing through someone else's property as way to gain peace is present in "Stopping by the Woods on A Snowy Evening":

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow. (466)

In the poem Frost mentions " My little horse my think it queer/To stop without a farmhouse near."(Line 5-6) Who is the horse? He continues "He give his harness bells a shake/To ask if there is some mistake." (Line 9-10) The horse represents his sub-conscience telling him this is not the time to rest. Frost must continue through his journey of life. Frost is the character in the poem. However, Frost does not stay in the woods he leaves because he has a family to take care of and more poems to write:

          The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

          But I have promises to keep,

          And miles to go before I sleep

          And miles to go before I sleep (466)

Frost has many choices in life. Frost would like to stay at home and write poetry instead of having to work but that is not possible. Frost enjoys writing about his experience with the people he encounters. Poetry is rural-rustic and it stands as a resource-recourse in Frost eyes and it needs time to be written. However, because Frost has a family he is unable to take the time off to write. To express that he has to decide which is more important he composes "The Road Not Taken." " The Road Not Taken," is poem in which going forward progressing, means choosing between two roads that lie different, though not opposite, directions."

          Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

          And sorry I could not travel both

          And be one traveler, long I stood

          And looked down one as far I could

          To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Already Frost knows he has to pick a road to travel. He looks down the road or anticipates what might happen if he chooses one of the roads. Frost knows that he can not travel both, because the road is the journey of life and you can not turn back or change your decision. He picks a road: "Then I took the other, as just as fair, /And having perhaps the better claim"(6-7) He ends the poem with; "Two roads diverged in a wood and I-/I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference." Frost does not say if this difference is good or bad because he has yet to find out. Frost has modified the poem in relation to his life because he chooses both roads. Frost is able be both the family man and an esteemed writer. Why do authors alter the writings of the literature and what are the benefits are commonly asked questions when examining their work.

     Frost alters his writing so that everyone can relate to what he writing about. He uses a universal theme and a concentration on nature to help his audience understand the message. The different effects are that you have a realistic insight to a certain poem when an author uses their own experience directly; or that you have a fantasy approach to the work. Frost has revealed through all of his work that he enjoys nature and it is easy for him to symbolize occurrences in our lives by using the images of nature. " He never falsifies an object fir the sake of the symbol, but he orders setting and drama so that behind the visible world of his poems there is a world of spirit…"

     Frost used his life experiences of having a farm and having a family is one of the many influences on his writings. His childhood also indirectly attributes some of the characteristics to the themes to his works. This is a common practice for many writer and definitely one by Frost.

Work Cited

"Robert Frost." Encyclopedia Britannica. 1973 ed.

DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama and the Essay. 2nd ed.

New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Lathem, Edward. Interviews with Robert Frost. New York: Holt, Rinehart and

Winston, 1967.

Simpson, Lewis P. Profile of Robert Frost. Columbus: Merrill Profiles, 1971.

Vail, Dennis. Robert Frost's Imagery and the Poetic Consciousness. Lubbock:

Texas Tech U., 1976.



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