The Symbolism of the "Birches"

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On the surface, the poem "Birches" by Robert Frost is simply about a man who would like to believe that birch trees are bent from young boys swinging on them, despite the evidence that it is merely a result of the ice-storms. Even with this knowledge he prefers the idea of the boys swinging from the trees because he was a birch swinger years ago and continuously dreams of returning and experiencing those pleasant memories once again. From a more explored and analytical point of view, the birch trees symbolize life and serves as the speaker's temporary channel of escape from the world and its harsh realities. The speaker uses his imagination to return to his innocent childhood. He hopes to relieve stress and prepare to face life and reality once again. Frost predominantly uses imagery and symbolism to emphasize the main ideas of the poem, but also uses other methods such as tone, figures of speech, rhythm, and poem structure. The entire idea of bent birch trees acts as a symbol representing life, the speaker's denial towards reality, and his use of imagination as its replacement. The speaker is aware of the reality that the trees are bent as a result of ice-storms: "When Truth broke in/With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm/I should prefer to have some boy bend them" (21-23), yet he prefers the idea of boys swinging on them. The speaker's denial proves how his use of imagination serves as a replacement in order to avoid the realities of life. Frost further explains how the branches bend because of the ice, but do not break. The strength and survival of the birches can be compared to life because many people have problems and frustration; however, they do not break down under life's enduring pressures and demands. People adapt to the situation that is set in front of them even if it leaves tremendous strains on them and leaves the possibility that they will "never right themselves" (16). "Birches" is a very complex poem which mainly consists of blank...
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