Analysis of Robert Frost's "Mowing"

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Fred White
Analysis of Robert Frost’s “Mowing”
As the speaker labors in his farm field on a quiet, hot day, he can’t help but notice that his scythe seems to be whispering as it works. He can’t exactly hear what the scythe is saying, and he admits that there is a chance that the whispering sound is simply in his own mind because of the quietness of the day or perhaps due to the heat of the sun playing tricks on him. The speaker realizes that the scythe is teaching him a lesson about the value of work and happiness in the world. Instead of dreaming about inactivity or reward for its labor as a person would, the scythe takes its sole pleasure from its hard work. It receives satisfaction from its dedicated and hard work in the field. As the poem ends, the narrator reaches the realization that internal fulfillment can be found in an honest day’s labor.

This poem is very unique in many ways, but none as much as in the style it is written. Frost had a dream of becoming America’s most influential and prominent poet. He accomplished this throughout his career by breaking molds that had been set by pervious writers. In “Mowing,” Frost combines the elements of a Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets along with his own unique rhyme scheme to increase the reader’s ability to feel the poem. It is Petrarchan in that it has two distinct halves: “an octave of eight lines followed by a sestet of six.” (DiYanni, 670) The poem also contains a very strong “concluding couplet more characteristic of the Shakespearean sonnet.” (DiYanni, 670) This is combined with a unique rhyme scheme indicative of a Frost sonnet. Instead of using the strict Petrarchan rhyme scheme (ABBAABBA CDECDE) or the Shakespearean rhyme scheme (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG), Frost creates a hybrid of both: ABC ABDEC DFEG FG. Keeping in tradition with other poems he had written, Frost employs very common and easy to understand language so that his poems could be enjoyed by all.

In “Mowing” Frost is able to provide an...
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