A Look at the Theme of Separation in the Poetry of Robert Frost
The creation of borders and boundaries has been around since the beginning of civilization. The division of property and possessions among individuals establishes a sense of self-worth. The erection of fences and walls keeps property separate. Walls also serve as a means of separating worlds. Modern society demands the creation, and maintenance of these boundaries. In his poems, “The Tuft of Flowers,” and “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost explores the role that walls play in our lives. He examines how the lives of men are both separated, and drawn together by walls.
In “ The Tuft of Flowers,” Frost shows how men work alone. In contrast, Frost then shows how men can work together through their separation. Frost describes how a simple, uncut tuft of wild flowers can unite two separate people. The appreciation of natures beauty has an effect on the mower, leading him away from cutting the flowers. The man that follows the mower feels a special kinship to him because he also likes the flowers. The beauty of a simple patch of flowers brings the narrator to realize that although he may work by himself, he is part of something bigger; the human race.
Frost also demonstrates how men never exist alone when surrounded by nature. In “The Tuft of Flowers”, the speaker thinks he works alone. Then frost writes, “But as I said it, swift there passed me by on noiseless wing a ‘wildred butterfly” (18). The Butterfly becomes the speaker’s morning companion, and its’ flight leads the speaker to the flowers. He serves to help lead the man
to realize that life and beauty unite all things. Frost writes, “ The butterfly and I had lit upon, Nevertheless a message from the dawn” (19). By directing the man to the flowers, the butterfly becomes an important character in this poem.
Cited: Frost, Robert. A Boy’s Will and North of Boston. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1991.
Wallace, Patricia. “Seperateness and Solitude in Frost.” Poetry Criticism. 1 (1991): 226-231.
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