Robert Frost Reflective PowerPoint ~Jamie-Lynn Tucker Robert Frost Mar.26, 1874Jan.29, 1963 For starters, lets look at a few interesting facts … ~Robert Lee Frost was born in San Francisco on March 26, 1874. ~His father died when he was 11. ~He sold his first poem “My Butterfly: An Elegy” to the New York magazine The Independent for $15.00. ~He married Elinor White in 1895, and they had two children. ~He lived on a farm in New Hampshire with his wife and family. ~They moved to England in 1913 when he was 38 so that he could pursue writing more seriously. ~There he wrote and published books “A Boys Will” and “North of Boston” in 1914. ~He returned to the U.S in 1915 and was surprised to find that “North of Boston” was already published in New York. ~He is a four time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. ~In the 20th century, he was the “most popular and best read poet in the nation.” • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Chronology 1874 Born on March 26 in San Francisco, California. 1885 Father dies and family moves to Lawrence, Massachusetts. 1892 Graduates from Lawrence High School. 1893–94 Studies at Dartmouth College. 1895 Marries his high school sweetheart, Elinor White. 1897–99 Studies at Harvard College. 1900 Moves to a farm in West Derry, New Hampshire. 1912 Moves to England, where he farms and writes. 1913 A Boy’s Will is published in London. 1914 North of Boston is published in London. 1915 Moves to a farm near Franconia, New Hampshire. 1916 Elected to National Institute of Letters. 1917–20 Teaches at Amherst College. 1919 Moves to South Shaftsbury, Vermont. 1921–23 Teaches at the University of Michigan. 1923 Selected Poems and New Hampshire are published; the latter is awarded a Pulitzer Prize. 1928 West-Running Brook is published. 1930 Collected Poems is published. 1936 A Further Range is published; teaches at Harvard. 1938 Wife dies. 1939–42 Teaches at Harvard. 1942 A Witness Tree is published, which is awarded a Pulitzer Prize. 1943–49 Teaches at Dartmouth. 1945 A Masque of Reason is published. 1947 Steeple Bush and A Masque of Mercy are published. 1949 Complete Poems (enlarged) is published. 1961 Reads "The Gift Outright" at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. 1963 Dies on January 29 in Boston. Source: Copied from: http://www.bedfordst...t/authors_depth/frost.htm Birches WHEN I see birches bend to left and right Across the line of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy's been swinging them. But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay. Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crustSuch heaps of broken glass to sweep away You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once thy are bowed So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. But as I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm (Now am I free to be poetical?) I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cowsSome boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father’s trees By riding them down and over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. So was I once myself a swinger of birches And so I dream of going back to be. It’s when I’m weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig’s having lashed across it open. I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better. I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. Response to Birches This poem has a theme of nature versus humans. He imagines that a boy was playing in the trees and bent the trees by swinging on them. He would rather think this than to think that nature, being as beautiful as it is could permanently bend the trees like that. His fantasy is interrupted by Truth, this was him not being able to block out the true facts that the damage was not done by an innocent young boy. I think that the birches are also symbolic of people, and how their backs can be arched permanently if they are always hunched over. I also think that it means that a person may appear to be just a little bent out of shape, and will be fine soon, when really they are broken. Nobody ever wants to face the cruel truth about why they get that way, so they make up little stories to make it easier on their conscience. He talks about the inner dome of heaven falling and being “dragged to the withered bracken by the load.” I think that this means that once a person goes through a large ordeal everything just keeps going downhill from there. They never seem to get on track again and soon the weight on their shoulders become too much to handle and they just break down. He says “So low for long, they never right themselves”. I think that he means that once you are down for so long there seems like there is no way out. You feel beaten and can’t lift yourself up, you can never right yourself. He doesn’t want to believe that the storm hurt the trees, much like us. We never want to admit to ourselves that something that we love would try to hurt us. We always make up excuses to ourselves to make it seem like it is something that it’s not. It always hurts us more to know the truth. At the end he says that one could do worse than be a swinger of birches. So I guess he is saying that no matter how bad things seem to be they can always be worse. People will always have the capability to hurt us, but it is up to us as our own person, whether we let them destroy us or not. We are not like birch trees, we can stand up for ourselves against the biggest storm. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair Where they have left not one stone on a stone, But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, But at spring mending-time we find them there. I let my neighbor know beyond the hill; And on a day we meet and walk the line And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we go. To each the boulders that have fallen to each. And some are loaves and some so nearly balls We have to use a spell to make them balance: “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!” We wear our fingers rough with handling them. Oh, just another kind of out-door game, One on a side. It comes to little more: There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am an apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head “Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him, But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather He said it for himself. I see him there Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. He moves in darkness as it seems to me, Not of woods only and the shade of trees. He will not go behind his father’s saying, And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Response to Mending Wall I think that in this poem, the wall that Frost is talking about is representing a wall that we each have. Not one around our yard, but one protecting our heart. We don’t want anyone to know who we truly are, so we block them out. “Good fences make good neighbors”, what I think he means is that if we keep people from getting too close, then they can’t hurt us. Gradually, we start to trust people and the wall starts to come down, this is when we become unsure of ourselves and begin to “mend” it. He says, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in our walling out.” This line means a lot to me. I think he is saying for us to ask ourselves, what are we trying to hide? What am I scared of? He wants us to think of what we feelings we are bottling up inside and not letting out. As well as what we are missing by being so solitary. Sometimes we don’t want the wall to be there, and wish that we could take it down. The only problem is that we get so used to it that we don’t know any different. We just keep telling ourselves that good walls make good neighbors and wont let go. After Apple-picking My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree Toward heaven still, And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough. But I am done with apple-picking now. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough And held against the world of hoary grass. It melted, and I let it fall and break. But I was well Upon my way to sleep before it fell, And I could tell What form my dreaming was about to take. Magnified apples appear and disappear, Stem end and blossom end, And every fleck of russet showing clear. My instep arch not only keeps the ache, It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend. And I keep hearing from the cellar bin The rumbling sound Of load on load of apples coming in. For I have had too much Of apple-picking: I am overtired Of the great harvest I myself desired. There were ten thousand fruit to touch, Cherish in hand, lift down, and let not fall. For all That struck the earth, No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, Went surely to the cider-apple heap As of no worth. One can see what will trouble This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is. Were he not gone, The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his Long sleep, as I describe its coming on, Or just some human sleep. Response to Apple-picking I think that this poem is referring to events in life when they talk about picking apples. Each apple represents a task or occasion in your life. He says that there is a barrel that he did not fill. I think that he is talking about things that he never got to experience, or that he missed out on. He probably decided against doing something for some reason or another. But now they come back to haunt him in his dreams. He can’t think about anything else. He picks apples upon apples and he seems to be getting very tired. I think that this means that he has so much work to do that he can’t handle it. He is talking about a point that we all reach sometime in our life, when we all get exhausted of everything. I think that we all have nightmares like him, when all we can think about is how much work we still have left to do. As well as dreams where we dwell on our decisions that we make, and worry about everything. I find that the main theme in this poem is regretting something that you didn’t do, and not being able to turn back. He feels as if he did not live his life to the fullest because he left some apples on the branches, now all he has is work to do, and there is no turning back. All he can do is wish that he had picked them. We need to be careful about the decisions that we make, but at the same time, we should know why we are making them, and not be afraid to take risks, or we might regret it later. Out walking in the frozen swamp one grey day I paused and said, “I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther-and we shall see.” The hard snow held me, save where now and then One foot went down. The view was all in lines Straight up and down of tall slim trees Too much alike to mark or name a place by So as certain I was here Or somewhere else: I was just far from home. A small bird flew before me. He was careful To put a tree between us when he lighted, And say no word to tell me who he was Who was so foolish as to think what he thought. He thought that I was after him for a featherThe white one in his tail; like the one who takes Everything said as personal to himself. One flight out sideways would have undeceived him. And then there was a pile of wood for which I forgot him and let his little fear Carry him off the way I might have gone, Without so much as wishing him good-night. He went behind it to make his last stand. It was a cord of maple, cut and split And pile- and measured, four by four by eight. And not another like it could I see. No runner tracks in this year’s snow looped near it. And it was older sure than this year’s cutting, Or even last year’s or the year’s before. The wood was grey and the bark warping off it And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle. What held it though on one side was a tree Still growing, and on one a stake and prop, These latter about to fall. I thought that only Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks Could so forget his handiwork on which He spent himself, the labor of his axe, And leave it there far from a useful fireplace To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay. Response to The Wood-pile I think that this poem is about unfinished business. He finds a wood pile all neatly chopped up and it’s obvious that a lot of time was put into it. So he wonders why it was just left there. If he had turned back when he wanted to, then he would have never seen the bird that led him to the wood-pile. I think that the message in this poem is not turn around when you are tired, but to keep going because you’ll never know what you might find, or who you might meet. It might not be anything important, but it could still be a nice experience. Also, you could learn something new about something that you thought you were familiar with. He has been along that path many times but had never seen the wood before, now he is trying to think of the history behind it. So the wood was not really a waste, it attracted a bird who brought a person, who is now thinking of it, maybe someone just wanted to be remembered. I think that this poem is also about leaving your footprint in the world so that someday, like in the poem, something will remind someone of you and you will not be forgotten, you will live on through their imagination.