In the poem “Design” by Robert Frost, the classic use of the color white, meaning innocence and purity is turned around. Instead of giving this color to wholesome, pure objects he gives them to objects that are the reverse, which are death, darkness and unholy objects.
When I read the poem “Design” I got the feeling that the author did not feel the same as I do about the color white. The first line talks about a fat white spider. This line contradicts the reputation that spiders have. When I see a spider, fat or skinny, it is usually black. I hate spiders and I would not give them the label as innocent or pure because spiders live in a dirty environment. By giving the spider a white color seems to disguise it. The white color of the spider is a mask that makes people think that it is innocent and pure when it is really not. Traditionally spiders have been associated with dirty and devilish acts. By portreying the spider as white it comes into a whole new perspective, and you begin to think that maybe the spider isn’t so bad after all. In the second part of the first stanza Frost describes a witches brew with all the ingredients being white. Witches have traditionally been ugly people wearing all black, the color that represents darkness and death. By saying that the white spider and the dead moth are like ingredients of a witches brew is actually putting those two objects on a lower level of existence. Ingredients in witch’s brew are usually despicable items that are not worthy of any human being.
Frost talks about the spider on a white heal-all holding up a dead white moth. A heal-all is a flower traditionally known for its healing capabilities, but in this poem it is acting as a boxing ring for the spider and the moth. The moth saw a white spider and figured he was of no harm to him. The spider used his innocent mask to deceive the moth and then the moth being gullible, was pounced on by the spider. The...
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