An Analysis of the Armful

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An Analysis of the Armful

By | April 2013
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An analysis of the poem “The Armful” by Robert Frost
In Robert Frost’s “The Armful” the speaker in the poem is not defined, but that is of no consequence, as the feeling of frustration that is conveyed in the poem’s first four lines could have been expressed by either a man or a woman. The speaker is not speaking to anyone in particular in the poem but it can be inferred that he is speaking to the reader on a higher level as, speaking literally; everyone can empathize with the feelings of frustration a person struggling to carry and balance too many packages conveys. In the poem the speaker has gone for groceries, probably without help, over shopped and is having a difficult time with all the bags he must carry. The packages slip from the speaker’s hands and he tries to catch them with his knees all the while still trying balance the rest of the his packages. In the end the he is forced to drop the groceries and find a better way of packing them back in the bags. Although the tone from the onset is that of frustration by the end it changes to something more positive. It can then be inferred that the theme of this poem is one of hope.

The poem creates an image of someone who is in need of help and is alone, not necessarily lonely as in need of social capital, but alone on the inside. The constant, repetitive use of the word ‘I’ supports the idea and feeling of isolation even though, as the reader, it is easy to put one’s self in that situation and to feel as if you were there watching. It has to be assumed that the author is not literally writing about someone’s troubles during a routine shopping trip. Take, for instance, lines three (3) and four (4) ‘And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns, Extremes too hard to comprehend at. Once’. One can connote that it has more to do with the abstract, inner most problems of the authors mind as opposed to actual contents of a brown paper bag. These Images are brought to life in this rhythmic poem by the use of...

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