Robert Frost's

Topics: Meaning of life, Human, Religion Pages: 2 (496 words) Published: May 24, 2007
The two poems written by Robert Frost, "Desert Places" and "Old Man's Winter Night," have the common theme of loneliness. In "Desert Places" the speaker is not walking through woods, he is only passing by and momentarily glancing at this field filling with snow and the trees that surround this field will soon be all that is left due to the snows continuous falling. When he sees this field with snow, he uses it as a device to compare it to his own life and how it will soon be all over and how when he passes on there will be nothing left. The speaker talks of walking through a snowy wood feeling "too absent-spirited to count" as he envisions the other animals of the forest warm in their dens. Frost also uses a strong contrast, such as "with no expression, nothing to express" and "lonely as it is that loneliness/ Will be more lonely ere it will be less." In both cases, the speaker compares two similar word forms while adding a slightly different meaning. The forest has no expression and nothing to express; neither comment repeats the other, but still uses nearly the same elements. Upon first glance, the long string of lonely in the third stanza may seem repetitive, but Frost uses each phrase to his advantage, by saying that loneliness could only be lonelier if some of it were removed, and the thought of this scares the speaker. The poem "Old Man's Winter Night" is a haunting poem about an old man dying in the wintry climate of New England and alone: "All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him / Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars." The poem meditates completely on the human condition as a whole, focused on the single old man here who "stood with barrels round him -- at a loss." The old man is somehow made to bear the weight of all human loneliness, even though "a light he was to no one but himself / Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what, / A quiet light, and then not even that." The man's inner light goes out as he sleeps; there is nothing left...
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