Frost and Wordsworth: a comparative overview
Robert Frost (L) and William Wordsworth (R)Syed Naquib Muslim Robert Frost is often designated by students and critics as the American poetical parallel of William Wordsworth, the forerunner of the Romantic Movement in England. It is widely believed that Wordsworth exerted profound influence on Frost in writing his poems, especially those on nature. In philosophy and style, Frost and Wordsworth appear both similar and dissimilar. Both Wordsworth and Frost wrote in the ordinary language of ordinary people. Frost's poetry, to use his own words, "begins in delight and ends in wisdom", whereas Wordsworth's poetry "begins in delight and ends in delight." Frost's wisdom is best reflected in the immortal line in Mending Wall: "Good fences make good neighbors." In Byron's view, Wordsworth is "dull, over-mild and flat like a sauce into which the cook had forgotten to shake pepper." Unlike Wordsworth, Frost is less egotistical and he maintains what Eliot terms as 'artistic detachment." Except in elegies, Frost does not always involve himself in the subject matter of his poetry. Both poets consciously avoided the rhetorical extravaganza of William Shakespeare and grandiloquence of John Milton. Frost was able to capture the natural tone of human conversation. His poem, A Boy's Will, captures the reader's attention not only for the theme but also for plainness of expression. Ideas, emotions and feelings are expressed in ordinary speeches. The same is true of Wordsworth. My views about Frost are a bit different. Frost is deceptively plain whereas Wordsworth is genuinely simple. Frost's poetry contains plain words but complex thoughts whereas Wordsworth's poetry has plain words and plain thoughts. Wordsworth is plain both in manner and matter. He is never pretentious, covert and deceptive. Both Wordsworth and Frost are democratic in style as they speak "to men in the tongue all men know because they are men." Wordsworth is more...
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