Robert Frost

Comments & Themes

Study Questions. You can reflect and write a paper on the following topics:

    • The new pastoral mode


    • The ethics of love and labor


    • Frost's romantic influences


    • Realism, naturalism and romantic trends in Frost's poems


    • Analyze one of the following poems to show how Frost's poetic technique itself serves as his own "momentary stay against confusion": "Once by the Pacific," "Desert Places," or "Design."


    • Discuss the limitations and isolation of the individual in either a social or natural environment, plus the related theme of how difficult it is for the self to understand existence.


    • Discuss the ambiguity and darkness of nature. Is it a source of truth and wisdom?


    • Discuss Frost's treatment of entropy, doom, and extinction.


    • Frost's use of irony


    • The dark designs, free will, apocalyptic visions and optimism


    • Many of Frost's poems gravitate between heaven and earth as in "Birches", "A Steeple on the House", "One more brevity"


    • Nature and man


    • The encounter between the self and the world


    • Belief and skepticism in Frost's poems


    • The motif of home in "Death of a Hired Man" and "Home Burial".


    • Compare Wordsworth "The Solitary Reaper" and Frost's "Mowing"


    • Nihilism and belief in Frost's poems.


    • Frost's way of "making it new"


    • "Birches" and Shelley's "Adonais"


    • Frost's dramatic dialogues and Eliot's interior monologue. Compare "Death of a Hired Man", "Home Burial" and Prufrock


    • The quest for truth "For, once then, something"


    • American myth of self-reliance and "The Road not taken"


  • The poet as craftsman and the art of poetry in "The Oven Bird", "Hyla Brook", Mowing, The Pasture