Robert Frost Essay

1296 words - 5 pages

Robert Frost is undoubtedly one of the most prominent and well-respected poets in American history. With his characteristic simple writing style, and emphasis on the natural world, Frost wrote poetry that was understood by and appealed to all. In a similar fashion to 19th century romantic poets, Frost upheld the notion that poetry is "never a put-up job.... It begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a loneliness. It is never a thought to begin with. It is at its best when it is a tantalizing vagueness." That being said, Frost adopted a conversational tone for his poetry by writing his works in colloquial language, rather than with artificial poetic diction. Drawing from his preference for the vernacular, Frost often used the indefinite pronoun “something” in his poetry. Although a fairly common term, its relatively frequent use alongside Frost’s usually vivid and descriptive imagery make it a characteristic of his works worth exploring. Upon evaluation, it becomes evident that Frost’s most potent reason for the use of the word “something” is to infuse an element of doubt or uncertainty into his poetry. It is perhaps an instilled ambiguity that Frost describes as distinctive of good poetry – often found in his better works with a “tantalizing vagueness”.
Before drawing conclusions though, it is wise to explore all avenues of possible meaning with regard to Robert Frost’s use of the word “something”. An important aspect to realize is that Frost raised concerns over readers’ far-fetched assumptions in their understanding of his poetry. According to Frost, "The objective idea [was all he] ever cared about. Most of [his] ideas [occurred] in verse.... To be too subjective with what an artist has managed to make objective is to come on him presumptuously and render ungraceful what he in pain of his life had faith he had made graceful." Simply put, Frost did not usually attach symbolic meaning to his diction. Many people misinterpreted his poems to be symbolic in nature. In reality, however, he wrote objectively - about the real, natural world as he saw it.
Hence, based on an understanding of Frost’s unique writing style, there are two ways in which his use of the word “something” can be deliberated. Frost writes in a straightforward, conversational tone in a lot of his poetry, which makes his works easily understood by many people. The use of the word “something” is very natural and unforced. It is a word many individuals would use in various circumstances. Thus, utilizing this word could simply be the implementation of colloquial, informal diction that is very typical of Frost’s style. On the other hand, incorporating “something” could possibly elucidate a deeper symbolic significance. Whether Frost would have consciously set out to incorporate his diction in such a fashion can be deliberated, but it might have just been reflective of an emotion or certain effect that the poet may have wished to impart on the reader.
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