One can only marvel at the grandeur of nature and its influence upon every aspect of the universe. The irony is that nature wears many different masks, for at times nature is kind, gentle, and giving; while, in an instant, it can turn harsh, unforgiving, and unrelenting. One phenomenon that is certain, though, is that nature is continually teaching new and old lessons with regard to life and survival. Robert Frost was an extremely insightful man who recognized the lessons of nature and was able to articulate his thoughts about nature and life through his works. These thoughts were sometimes bittersweet, sometimes ironic, or could be simple reflections regarding his surroundings. One can, also, see autobiographical details in Frost’s works, for he suffered devastating losses during his lifetime. These include the untimely deaths of his sister, two of his children, and his wife (Seidman 465-467). Even though he knew the soul’s depths of psychic despair, he was capable of delighting in birch trees ‘loaded with ice a sunny winter morning’. While memorializing the rural landscape, vernacular, culture, and people of New England in his traditional verse and style, his works have proven to transcend the boundaries of time. Human nature, as with nature itself, is both beautiful and often an exercise of contradictions. Frost’s works reflect the metaphysical significance and modern exploration of this beauty and contradiction. Even though he has critics, millions of readers throughout the world have found comfort, tranquility, and profound insight and meaning in his poetry. His works have inspired numerous contemporary authors, poets, musicians, and playwrights. Hopefully this creative style will continue throughout eternity, for his works are thought provoking, motivating, and extremely insightful from the life of which he lived. Robert Lee Frost (named after Southern General Robert E. Lee) was born on 26 March 1874 in San Francisco, California to Isabelle Moodie, teacher, and William Prescott Frost Jr., teacher and journalist (Seidman 463). San Francisco was a lively city full of citizens with a pioneering spirit. Robert’s father was among those individuals, for he had ventured there from New Hampshire to seek his fortune as a journalist. Unfortunately, William brought with him a set of demons that proved to be his weakness and downfall. He started gambling and drinking uncontrollably. These habits depleted the family’s funds and left them in dire financial straits, when he died in 1885 after contracting tuberculosis. Robert’s wishes were to be buried in Lawrence, Massachusetts, for this was his place of birth and source of his heritage. Wanting to honor his last wishes, Isabelle, Robert, and his sister Jeanie Florence made the long train journey across the country to the New England town (Pritchard 523). Robert was eventually buried, and Isabelle began teaching again to sustain her impoverished family. During his early childhood, young Robert was exposed to a world of books and being inquisitive was encouraged. This was because of his parent’s occupation as teachers. He spent countless hours studying the works of such masters as William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, and William Wordsworth (Kearns 407). Throughout this early period of his life, he also developed a life-long love of nature, the great outdoors, and rural countryside. After enrolling in Lawrence High School, he soon began writing his own poetry. These included “La Noche Triste” (1890) which was published in the school’s paper. He excelled in many areas including: history, botany, Latin, Greek, and even football. In fact, he was accomplished in so many disciplines, that he graduated at the head of his class. In 1892, he entered Dartmouth, the Ivy League College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Obviously, college and campus life was not conducive to his style of learning. He rapidly became disenchanted with it and decided to pursue other alternatives. These...
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