Critical Response: Robert Frost - the Oven Bird

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Critical response
Robert Frost –The Oven Bird

This poem contains 14 lines and is written mainly in iambic pentameter with a little variation in some lines. Each line rhymes with some other line, but there is no regular rhyme pattern. Nevertheless, you can call this poem a sonnet in my opinion, because it contains the key features of a sonnet: Iambic pentameter, an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines) and a theme linked to nature. As mentioned, the base metrical pattern of this poem is iambic pentameter, ten syllables in each line, an unstressed and a stressed syllable in sequence five times. Ten of the 14 lines are written in regular iambic pentameter, there are substitutions in four lines: Line 4 and line 7 both end in an amphibrach, that is an extra unstressed syllable in the last foot (“for flowers”, “in showers”). Whereas the other lines all end in stressed syllables, these two lines have a falling pattern in the end. This falling pattern corresponds with the content of these lines: Leaves and blooms fall down in fall and so does the reader’s voice here. The second line contains two substitutions of the base pattern: There is a trochee in the first foot (Loud, a...) and a spondee in the second (mid-summ). After the regular first line, the reader could expect that the poem continues in iambs. The stressed Loud interrupts the set-up rhythm and also marks a pause because it is followed by a comma. The reader is surprised and halts, as he would if he heard the unique sound of a real oven-bird. The compound word mid-summer in the next foot starts with two stressed syllables, a spondee. This metrical foot also lengthens the line and interrupts the fluency of the voice. The second line does not only take a special status in terms of metric, but also in terms of content: The main subject of the poem, the oven-bird, is introduced and described here. The word mid-summer, which is responsible for the irregularity in line 2, reoccurs in the first foot of...
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