Critique of Robert Frost

Critique of Robert Frost
Marion Montgomery, ?Robert Frost and His Use of Barriers: Man vs. Nature Toward God,? Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962. Reprinted by permission of The South Atlantic Quarterly.
Robert Frost is considered by the casual reader to be a poet of nature like that of a Wordsworth. In a sense, his poetry is about nature, yet with strong underlying tones of the drama of man in nature. Frost himself stated, ?I guess I?m not a nature poet,? ? I have only written two without a human being in them (138).? Marion Montgomery?s critical essay plays with the epitaph that Frost proposes for himself in The Lesson for Today: ?I have a lovers quarrel with the world.? Montgomery says, that the lovers quarrel is Frost?s poetic subject, and states, ?throughout his poetry there is evidence of this view of mans? existence in the natural world (138). The essay examines how Frost?s attitude toward nature is one with armed and amicable truce and mutual respect interwoven with boundaries of the two principles, individual man and the forces of the world. But the boundaries are insisted upon.
The critical essay examines how Frost?s direct addresses of nature are often how man is essentially different from objects and features of nature. Montgomery insists, ??his trees and animals, though he speaks to them, do no take on grave countenances (140).? The jest of Montgomery?s ideal is when Frost speaks directly to or directly of natural objects or creatures, ?that he is really looking at man out of the corner of his eye and speaking to him from the corner of his mouth (141).? The critical essay continues toward how the supernatural or God is man?s slow understanding of the natural world. Many of the works Frost has written show ?his acceptance of man?s limitations and the acceptance of mystery in existence than to agnosticism (142).? The essay is stating that Frost is reserving judgment, keeping silent on his opinions of God and the supernatural. The essay states his thoughts to be, ? experience comes early, understanding later (142).? Frost has been critically ridiculed for his cynicism in his poetry of God toward man. ?To Frost, the mindless world, despite its laws and patterns of cause and effect, lacks completeness, ? but man was created so that he may try to make the world complete (143).? Montgomery insists that Frost is devoted to God in his poetry, he implies that God gave us minds and that we should use our minds for the enhancement of the creator?s world.
The critical essay by Marion Montgomery explains how Frost connects man to nature and God. Barriers exist between man and nature, and man and God. By interweaving the elements in his poetry, Frost enhances the underlying tones of his work. He invites the readers to find themselves through his poetry, not just in extraordinary circumstances but also in the struggle of everyday life. Nature and God play a backseat role through his poetry. He tends to use nature to symbolize something that has to do with human life or situations that humans face. In the poem ?The Road Not Taken? man finds himself interacting with nature and with an underlying tone of God. He introduces two separate paths, in which the speaker is faced with a decision of which path to choose. Only one path can be chosen, leaving the other not to be experienced. The readers mind is filled with disappointment by reading ?and sorry I could not travel both / And be one traveler, long I stood (lines 2-3).? Though the traveling through the ?yellow woods? gives the feeling of beautiful nature setting, man interacts in the poem and makes man?s existence in the natural world known.
Man?s hesitancy, in making the decision of which path to choose is shown through, ?Though as for that, the passing there / Had worn them really about the same (lines 9-10).? It is obvious that the two paths in the woods symbolize paths in life and choices that are made in the journey of life itself. The underlying fact that God gives us choices and by the use of mans minds choices will be made that will effect the rest of our life, as Montgomery had implied through the critical essay. The speaker states, ? I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference (lines 19-20),? letting the reader reflect upon decisions that he or she has made in life, and what apparent outcomes have come it. This option is justified from the poem by stating, ? I shall be telling this with a sigh, / Somewhere ages and ages hence (lines 16-17).?
Though nature is shown through the poems diction, such as ?yellow woods,? ?grassy? and ?morning,? the major theme was man. Underlying man was God and the decisions that he gives to man to make his own life and choices rather than having God think for us. These suggestions lead toward supporting the critical essay by Montgomery, in which I tend to believe also. There are barriers that cannot be crossed in Frosts? poems. Man can only take one path, in the poem The Road Not Taken, the barrier is shown when nature gives us two paths, and only one path can be experienced. Even if the speaker came back to this barrier, the experience is not the same. The choice was made by the speaker before, referring back to man?s slow understanding of natural world, and Frost?s suggestion of ?experience comes first, understanding later (142).?

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