Robert Frost, a prominent American poet, stands out as one of the pioneers and contributors in the art of poetry. In his poems he uses the New England characters, expressions, and even setting to send out his message through the art. Robert Frost “was born on 26 March 1874 in San Francisco California” (William, 2001).
As a way of acknowledging the southern hero general Robert Lee (1807-1870) his parents decided to call their first son Robert. Frost faced a test of time when his father passed away in 1885. They were not sure whether their travel to Massachusetts for funeral would enable them to live on properly, as they did not have funds to travel back to California. Frost’s grandfather offered them a home. Her mother eventually secured a job as a teacher.
In his early years Frost loved to listen to his mother read to him, which led to his exposure to a variety of literary works as he gained inspiration to read. Although at first Frost lacked enthusiasm in his elementary studies, he managed to work hard finally graduating from Lawrence high school as the top student as well as the class poet in 1892.
Frost became an editor of the high school Bulletin after his poem “La Noche Triste” which was published in the Bulletin in 1890. Frost was inspired to write the poem by Prescott’s famous History of the Conquest of Mexico (William, 2001). In 1894 Frost’s first professional poem “My Butterfly” was published in Independent, New York (“Robert Frost”).
In 1895 Frost married his love, Elinor Miriam White, and tried to advance his career in teaching (“Robert Frost”). He helped his mother in managing her private school in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where his first son was born. Life turned out difficult especially for Frost, as he tried to balance his studies in Harvard, at the same time providing for his family.
Therefore, he decided to venture in poultry farming in Methuen. Following his tuberculosis diagnosis in 1900, he decided to move his poultry farming to Derry, New Hampshire as his son unfortunately succumbed to death (William, 2001). Frost was also warned about possible threat of tuberculosis. Eventually, Frost and his family decided to move to Buckinghamshire in England in 1912.
However, in 1914 the poet had to leave Britain for the United States due to financial constraints. There Frost was announced “a leading voice of the “new poetry” movement” (William, 2001). He received assistance from the American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and many other people who inspired him. There he wrote his poem “A Boy’s Will” which received a warm welcome after publication.
Though scared of crowds, Frost became a public figure wining various prizes in the area of poetry. He died on January 29, 1963 in Boston Massachusetts following some complications after an operation. However, he has left many resources for the upcoming poets and the society.
Frost’s poetry writing dates back to his early life as a young boy. His motivation to dedicate his life to literature resulted from his love of listening to his mother’s reading of stories. Therefore, his love to poetry and literature was nurtured and cultivated by his mother while he was still growing.
Furthermore, his topping in class coupled with the publishing of his poem in the school Bulletin contributed to his interests in the area of poetry. The fact that he performed well to lead all the class in poetry illustrated how impeccable he was in poetry. Frost ventured in writing after the appearance of his poem “My Butterfly” in the New York Independent magazine (“Robert Frost”).
This actually motivated him as he got some income from the poems he sold to magazines and therefore was able to provide for himself as well as for his family. Frost’s father was a journalist, a fact that contributed to his studying in the same line.
Frost’s wife Elinor also provided a sense of inspiration to the nurturing and development of his writing skills and preference. His wife had a good background in writing poems and therefore she had an interest in writing. Her love for poetry played a bigger role in enhancing Frost’s development and advancements in writing.
It goes without saying that love to his wife was one of the most potent inspirations for Frost (“Robert Frost”). Noteworthy, during his life Frost met many prominent poets which influenced him a lot when it came to poetry. These poets were Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and Robert Graves among others. They nurtured him by offering assistance and guidance in developing his writing skills in poetry.
These poets provided a strong background and basis for his poetry as their reputation and experience in the field was remarkable and known by many people. They set a good playing ground for the rest of Frost’s poetry and writing career. Furthermore, Frost’s friendship with Pound Ezra influenced his writing profession. Pound assisted Frost in the promotion of his poems, which motivated him to keep on working hard in this area.
The support from other people also influenced him positively as his work gained acceptance influencing the lives of people. As result, Frost received several prizes because of producing good work. These awards still made him forge on producing good quality poems like “The Road Not Taken”.
“The Road Not Taken” forms part of his early poems that confuses many readers in terms of the implication or the meaning he intended to air out. The poem addresses the issue of indecisiveness. For instance, the author stands in woods unable to decide the right path that can lead him to the direction or the destination he wants.
This indecisiveness comes out clearly in the second line “And sorry I could not travel both” that shows how the author admits impossibility of traveling on both roads (“The Road Not Taken”). Therefore, a decision should be made that will enable him to achieve or rather reach the preferred and intended destination.
The ways the author wants to choose seem worn-out with un-trodden leaves covering them. He therefore decides to take one of them with the hope that he will take the other way some other time. Though the poet cannot tell the time and the moment that he will take, which is illustrated in the following line: “then took the other, as just as fair”.
The poem also has the implication that someday, when Frost recalls the decision he took, he will twist it a little bit by claiming that he took the road less traveled as illustrated in the last verse of the poem, “I shall be telling with a sign… I took the one less travelled by” (“The Road Not Taken”).
Therefore, the poem addresses the life’s challenges and problems showing how people go about choosing the right decisions. Some decisions, which people embark on, can have great implications changing everything. Furthermore, the poet articulates an opinion that people are free to choose their fate since the routes that they choose are the result of their own choice and chance (Finger, 1978, p. 478).
The author uses forks in the roads and paths in the woods as metaphorical figures of speech to imply the decisions and the crises people always encounter. People usually face difficult times at one stage or another in their day-to-day lives. These problems come through various things like crises, conflicts, regardless of which a decision must arise to ensure that they meet what they intended to.
Frost tries to assert that regardless of these, a choice must exist though irreversible, sometimes following the lack of provision of a second chance. These decisions, he goes further to say, may provide a basis for people to witness changes or differences either positive or negative as illustrated in the last line “and that has made all the difference” (“The Road Not Taken”).
Therefore, to sum up, the author implies that all people have the freedom to choose the kind of way that they feel will enable them to reach their destination or achieve their objectives. The choice of an individual may not necessarily be similar to those of others. When time elapses the decisions that people make may not apply in the current times, dominated by changes requiring them to twist and adapt to the status in order for them to suit.
The entire poem therefore declares sacrifices, determination, perseverance and endurances as the basis for gaining success, fame and even wealth and popularity. These require a lot of dedication on the part of the person, regardless of the obstacles and problems or challenges that one faces (Watts, 1955, p. 69). Without sacrificing and clearly defining the destiny or the purpose that one wants, it is difficult to achieve his/her desires in life.
The poet therefore suggests optimism, persistence, and consistency of people as a way of achieving their desires. Time comes when one sits back to look at what he/she has reached without any hiccups; time when an individual meditates the difference he/she has created in the life of other people. The poem is didactic since it encourages people to work hard for them to achieve their goals irrespective of the obstacles they might face. People should choose their own destinies.
The motivation of writing the poem “The Road not Taken” comes from Frost’s own life experiences, and how he faced various problems and how he successfully managed to solve them. The poem illustrates his zeal and ambition to make success as an individual. The poet decided to make a decision knowing clearly what exactly he wanted to achieve.
For instance, the lines “Then took the other, as just as fair, / And having perhaps the better claim” suggests the vision and the results the author had in choosing his way in poetry, a field which people did not want to venture at that time (“The Road Not Taken”). The profession requires a lot of dedication, creativity in writing, thoughtful observation, revision, editing among other things, which many people would not manage.
However, his effort and dedication in pursuing poetry brought him some difference, which he will sigh, to the coming generations. For instance, he chooses to illustrate the fact that not many people do prefer to pursue the field: “I took the one less travelled by, / And that has made all the difference.” Such lines provided a hint to why the author decided to venture in field. He understood that one could not achieve fame or wealth without his/her input and sacrifice.
Therefore, he was motivated to write this poem in order to educate people on how the actions they make can affect their lives. That success or any other good things do not come that easy. Hard work and sacrifice acts as a basis of success, wealth and even fame that many wish to have.
“The Fire and Ice” though short, postulates the commonest queries people ask. These questions concern the fate or the future of the world. Many people living in that period were in awe whether the world would end or would be destroyed by ice or fire (Tuten and Zubizarreta, 2001, 112). Through the poem Frost joins the debate by providing his side of coin through his opinions on his take or perspective on the ending of the world.
The poet has an opinion that the world will end with fire as consideration of his personal experience with passion and desire and the emotions brought about by fire. Contrary, he claims that the world will end in ice or hatred after considering his experiences for a second time. Consequently, the poem acknowledges that both are equally destructive. Frost begins by presenting the view of people in the poem concerning how they feel or think the world will end.
The poet points out that, although some differences do occur between different people about the fate of the world, the truth will stand out and will not hinge on someone as illustrated in the following line “some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice”. He therefore provides the reader with different perspectives held by people on what they think will end the world.
Frost then presents his own views about the issue of the end of the world: “from what I’ve tasted of desire, / I hold within those who favor fire.” He equates fire to desire but consequently equates hate to ice (Little & Bloom, 2009, p. 175). Therefore, according to his views, both have an equal chance of destroying the world. To conclude, Frost through the line “And would suffice” sums up his take on the end of the world affirming that the end of world is fire.
The poet also claims that the repercussions will be equal whether it will end with fire or ice. The outcome will remain same and deterioration of humanity is inevitable. The poem postulates the agony and the way that people try to unravel, but in vein. It is a secret that dates back to the ancient times with no person gathering any evidence to affirm that the end of the world will take a certain form (Bassett, 1981, p. 41). Similarly, during Frost’s times, similar to the current world, people agonized and discussed these mysteries.
Admittedly, “Ice and Fire” is Frost’s respond to the questions which were in the air. Frost aimed at shifting gears from looking at the end of world in a scientific perspective to an emotional side by comparing passionate desire with fire and hatred with ice (O’Donnell, 1998).
These two elements can metaphorically represent the world “recognized as a metaphor for relationships” (Hansen, 2000, p. 27). Therefore, a relationship is equally destroyed by fire or cold, too much passion or hate. Therefore, the author seems to be inspired by his own life experience in terms of facing the realities of life, as he encountered both passion and some indifference.
In conclusion, it is possible to point out that Robert Frost lived a long life full of love, pleasantries, fame, misery and losses. He revealed his life experiences in his poetry which is inspiring and didactic. Forest articulates his ideas concerning many issues in his poems. Sometimes he is quite pessimistic regarding his ideas about the end of the world. Nonetheless, it is possible to state that in his works Frost revealed his firm belief that it is necessary to appreciate the beauty of life no matter what difficulties one can face.
Bassett, F. (1981). Frost’s The Road Not Taken. Explicator, 39(3), 41-43.
Finger, L. (1978). Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’: A 1925 Letter Come to Light. American Literature, 50(3), 478-479.
Hansen, T. (2000). Frost’s “Fire and Ice”. Explicator, 59(1), 27-30.
Little, M.R., and Bloom, H. (2009). Bloom’s How to Write about Robert Frost. New York: Infobase Publishing.
O’Donnell, W.G. (1998). Talking about Poems with Robert Frost. Massachusetts Review, 39(2), 225-250.
Robert Frost. (n.d.). The Academy of American Poets. Retrieved from http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/192
“The Road Not Taken”. (n.d.). The Academy of American Poets. Retrieved from http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717
Watts, H. (1955). Robert Frost and the Interrupted. Dialogue. American Literature, 27(1), 69-87.
William, H. (2001). Frost’s Life and Career. Modern American Poetry. Retrieved from http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/frost/life.htm
Tuten, N.L., and Zubizarreta, J. (2001). The Robert Frost Encyclopedia. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.