Robert Frost's Departure from and Return to Nature
关键词: 自然观; 爱恋; 惧怕; 留下; 离开; 出世; 入世
Through the analysis of some of Robert Frost’s poems, this paper tries to reveal Frost’s unique concept of nature, which differs greatly from that of Wordsworth’s and Emerson’s. His attitude toward nature is between love and horror, departure and return. The contradiction between the desire to widen the life circle and the decision to live wisely in the real world is reflected in most of Frost’s poetry. Then the thesis concentrates on the study of the causes of Frost’s unique attitude toward nature from three aspects: social transformation, cultural permeating as well as personal traits.
Keywords: concept of nature; love; horror; departure; return Robert Frost's Departure from and Return to Nature
Robert Frost was one of the greatest poets in America in the 20th century. Long before his death at eighty-nine, Frost attained an enviable position as unofficial Poet Laureate for the nation, receiving the Pulitzer Prize four times and was the only poet ever invited to read one of his poems (The Gift Outright) at the Presidential Inauguration①. As for his poetry，Frost employed the plain speech of rural New Englanders and preferred the short, traditional forms of lyric and narrative to describe the simple, nice scenery of rural New England. Just as most of Frost’s poetry set New England as the background, he was often regarded by some critics as a regional poet. But as a matter of fact, New England in Frost’s poetry is far more than a small rural region, but a microcosm of the whole country. Also the natural scenery in New England described in the poetry is also far more than just the picturesque view, but endowed with many metaphorical meanings. It may be the symbol of another world as opposed to the real society, or may represent the myth unknown to the human being, etc. By describing the relationship between the New Englanders and nature there, Frost contemplates on the issues concerning the modern society such as the relationship between man and the real world; the relationship between man and nature as well as the relationship between man and man. Frost reveals the contradictions in the real society, and the confusion, helplessness as well as loneliness of people. We can safely conclude that if one understands Frost's attitude toward nature rightly, then he can grasp the meaning of most of Frost's poetry perfectly. As most of Frost’s poetry set the rural New England as the background, describing the natural scenery, emphasizing the beauty and simplicity of the country life, he is widely recognized as a pastoral poet. Critics usually focus their attention on his attitude toward nature, and compare him with the English romantic poet William Wordsworth and the representative of the American Transcendentalism Emerson on their concepts of nature. In this thesis, the writer will try to make clear Frost's unique concept of nature, and point out the differences of Frost's concept of nature from that of William Wordsworth's and Emerson's. Frost's attitude toward nature is between love and horror, departure and return. The contradiction between the desire to widen the life circle and the decision to live wisely in the real world is reflected in most of Frost's poems, while Wordsworth and Emerson show deep love for nature, emphasizing the nature's role in consoling and protecting the soul of human being. Furthermore this essay mainly concentrates on probing the causes of Frost's concept of nature from social, cultural and personal aspects. In this way the readers can have a clearer idea of the significance of the natural scenery in Frost's poetry, and by extension understand better Frost's attitude toward the whole universe.
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