Robert Frost

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Robert Frost was an American Poet highly regarded for his realistic depiction and use of imagery involved in conceptualizing rural life. His work commonly used the monstrous theme of death and nature, using the setting of each piece to examine complex philosophical and social subject matters. The poems I chose to analyze are “The Vanishing Red”, “Home Burial”, and “Death of a Hired Man.” Each poem exhibits the theme of “death” in their own way as a result of the differences in setting and through introduction of specific characters. Despite the parallels in theme in these poems, Frost uses a variety of situations and concepts of death for the focus of each poem.

The first poem I analyzed was “The Vanishing Red”. This poem describes the murder of the last Native American resident of a New England mill town named Acton (or action). The miller, in an act of pure racial hatred, shoved John (The red man) down into the mill’s wheel pit. John is then shredded to death in-between the gears of the machine he’s pushed into. My interpretation of this poem is that it really describes the death of a group a people that help build this nation. We are forgetful that these “Red Men” help paved this country into the land it is today. The act of forgetting is apparent in lines 9 through 13: "You can't get back and see it as he saw it. / It's too long a story to go into now. / You'd have to have been there and lived it. / Then you wouldn't have looked on it as just a matter / Of who began it between the two races." In other words, the killing of the last Native American in Action stands for the entire history or the entire act of colonization of the United States.

Another portrayal of the theme Death is seen through the imagery used by Frost in “The Vanishing Red.” The best example of this is the frantic fish or the salmon sturgeon. This metaphor can be seen as a two-fold force. The first we see as a fish flopping in the water; more as a dying force just as we exemplified in...
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