Robert Frost Analysis Essay

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Robert Frost, a clever thinker and master of metaphors, is known for successfully taking his reader’s imagination on journeys through his poems. Frost’s ambiguous poems, “”The Cow in Apple Time”” and “”Mending Wall”” both develop a wall as an extended metaphor in order to explain that ignorance of the purpose behind boundaries can lead to foolish acts.

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“”The Cow in Apple Time”” begins with a cow showing an unconcealed act of ignorance, she crosses the wall with no question of its reason and ends up facing the consequences which it was protecting her from. The poem exhibits what many people are faced with today, the penalties of blind exploration and addiction to drugs and alcohol. The Cow perceives the wall as an “”open gate””, and unknowingly steps right into a trap of her own desires. The use of ignorance in the cows action portrays how results are never known until after the event has taken place and boundaries are placed to prevent those results from ever occurring. The cause of addiction mostly occurs as people choose to ignore the rules and cross lines without understanding that they were created to stop them from happening in the first place. As the poem moves on to disclose the cows conviction of the wall builders as “”fools””, the cow fails to see the builders motive to protect her and she crosses the boundary without care. By condemning the creators of the divider her ignorance of the rules is emphasized, her actions can never be reversed and she is bound to face dire consequences. Often small actions such as smoking or drinking once can lead to a lifetime addictions which are very tough to reverse. As the composition moves on to the cow overindulging apples as if there were no tomorrow, she realizes her mistake after she “”bellows”” on the hill in pain and realizes that her “”milk [has gone] dry””. The cow is left in misery as she has to face the results of her ignorance and realize her mistake as no transgression is left without punishment. The cows pain reveals how greed, ignorance and addiction will all have consequential outcomes and there is no way to escape them. The Cow in Apple TIme explains how ignoring rules, boundaries and crossing the line can lead to addiction which will always have tragic outcomes. Without understanding the reason behind the boundary the cow ended up acting in a way it never intended to, foolish and drunk.

Mending Wall is about the speaker questioning the purpose of a wall and refuting the neighbor in pursuit of altering his viewpoint. The poem touches the topic of blindly accepting tradition without understanding the reasoning. As the speaker attempts to put a notion in [the neighbors] head to trigger the encompassing question of why the wall needs repair at all if there is no reason behind it, the neighbor remains oblivious to the speaker’s viewpoint and fails to notice the intent of the wall as no longer relevant. The use of two conflicting point of views portrays how there are often quite a few differences in the way of life when traditions were created to modern day needs. As the speaker continuously attempts to convince the neighbor, the idea that act of fixing the wall every year is almost foolish as there is no need for it anymore is emphasized. As the poem continues, the speaker describes the neighbor as [moving} in darkness after giving up the attempt to change his mindset. Darkness, the opposite of light, represents the neighbors lack of knowledge and reasoning behind his words. As the speaker becomes serious his view changes and he sees his neighbor as threatening. The result of the speakers attempts going in vain represents the sometimes people’s mindsets never change and useless traditions will always remain. From beginning to end the neighbor refuses to go behind his fathers saying, he remains stubborn and refuses to think other than his father’s words. Without the critical thinking he never realizes the uselessness of the barrier which they have rebuilt for countless years. The neighbors repetition emphasizes that although time and circumstances change some traditions, even without purpose, will never go away as people continue to blindly follow them. Accepting customs without thought can lead to unnecessary work and commitment. The speakers realization that the rebuilding the wall as an act of foolishness tells the reader that some traditions followed by our ancestors have no purpose for the lives of those in this day and age.

In both Mending Wall and The Cow In Apple Time , Frost explains how the ignorance of a boundary ends in foolish acts. The cow becomes drunk and faces negative results and the neighbor refuses to listen and continues to waste time and effort every year to mend a wall that is no longer needed. The powerful use of extended metaphor drives the idea that ignorance never has positive outcomes.

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Robert Frost Analysis Essay. (2020, Feb 26). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from

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