The Analysis of Robert Frost’s Poem the Telephone

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Through carefully balanced figurative language and similes, Robert Frost’s poem, “ The Telephone,”highlights the significance of human nature by leaving an impact upon the reader, while allowing them to make any type of interpretation of the poem.

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First, from what I was able to interpret, Frost made it seem as if the speaker and his current spouse got into a disagreement, constraining the speaker to walk away in hopes of not saying something he may regret later. For example, Frost begins the poem by claiming how the speaker “was just as far as [he] could walk from here today” (1-2). The narrator looks as though he feels a misconception in the relationship with his spouse, but soon senses their familiar touch for romance is slowly dying out. There is a reconnection between the speaker and his significant other as the speaker claims to have heard the woman’s voice while walking through nature, trying to get his mind off of what might have happened. However, this poem does create a lot of imagery, as I am able to paint a picture in my head of the setting, which is filled with conflicts, as the speaker is ashamed of himself because he ran away from the situation as well as the woman whom he loves. He cannot help but stop and think about her, making it seem as if the narrator might be trapped in the past and doesn’t know how to proceed in the future.

Next, the narrator expresses dramatic, yet somber tone, as he feels neglected from unreciprocated feelings made from his significant other. The narrator also uses figurative language, when referring to a past encounter with the woman he loves. For instance, the narrator asserts, “When leaning my head against a flower, I heard you talk” (3-4). What the quote is trying to convey is a metaphor, as the speaker pretends the flower is a telephone that is able to pick up a conversation made in the past, but he is not able to recall what exactly might have been said to him.

More importantly, Frost portrays a first person perspective, which does make the poem feel more personal because of how it exploits the private conversation made between the two people. For example, the speaker proceeds to say, “Don’t say I didn’t. For I heard you say. You spoke from that flower on the window still. Do you remember what it was you said” (5-9)? The rhetorical device being used is a rhetorical question, as the speaker is reliving the words that were abruptly said during the argument. The narrator then expands off of his thoughts by reminiscing about the past discussion made between the two before he walked out on the fight, while being able to randomly remember the bits and pieces of the confrontation towards that exact same person. It seems as if the speaker is trying to revive the other person’s memory of their past encounter over the phone by questioning what the opposers may have said. The narrator is then bringing history into the stanza as he is deciding to relive the past, rather than resolving the complications made in the present.

Then the speaker’s pace of the poem soon picked up as we began to understand the speed of the text, while complementing the author’s short length of words, in the hopes that the woman be able to finish the sentence for him. The speaker then proceeds by ambitiously claiming and demanding that the woman would “first tell [him] what it was [she] thought [she] heard” (10). The narrator is concerned about what the woman may have said. His tone is portrayed as ancy, yet curious due to the mistaken interpretation of words that the woman was thought to have stated. Although, the woman does share a bit of her side of the story by portraying a sense of embarrassment for trying to easily forgive the speaker, but instead decides to hold her grounds as her goal is to receive an apology first. She is stuck in the middle of feeling trapped and cannot win either way, unless she were to cave in first. This then creates style as the reader starts to comprehend an idea about the author’s denotations or meaning behind their word choice. Moreover, the speaker then goes on to describe the vivid details of the flower phone, which demonstrates the rhetorical device, imagery, as he claims, “Having found the flower and driven a bee away, I leaned my head, and holding by the stalk, I listened and I thought I caught the word” (11-14). The flower merely represents the exaggeration of figurative language, but shrewdly suggests how their love for one another is like a flower, delicate, but beautiful. Furthermore, the speaker wants to pretend that the woman is trying to reach out to him by calling him back as he questions her on what she may have said, and thinks she called him by his name, but this idea then forces him to quickly back down from the bold statement that he claimed as he does not want to anger the woman even more by pushing her into an apology. This then causes the woman to tease the speaker for a bit as she openly states that she was thinking about him, but does not want to admit it at the same time.

Lastly, the narrator openly states, “Or did you say… Someone said ‘come.’ I heard it as I bowed. I may have thought as much, but not aloud. Well, so I came” (15-19). These loose sentences convey the most important idea that is revealed about the woman who is feeling too proud to admit that she wants the speaker back, but this then unfolds loosely after that acquisition. After she was able to reveal this bold statement by telling the narrator to come home, in which expressed the rhetorical device known as periodic structure, as the speaker confessed that he still cares for the woman at the end of the poem, which made it a mutual as the two love birds began to reconcile their love for one another expressing how they feel about each other at the end of the story.

In conclusion, the telephone represents the conversation between two lovers who are sadly disconnected after a dispute, but is soon linked together once again through mother nature’s natural elements, in which this case, a flower is portrayed as a phone, making the poem much more appealing towards the audience. Subsequently, the poem foreground the capability of love and even demonstrates the speaker’s motive behind proving a point on whether or not the woman would fight for his love. Nevertheless, this poem is all based on the reader’s imagination on how they may perceive the outcome to be, but the rhetorical devices such as metaphor, figurative language, style, diction, and even similes, all helped contribute to transmit between relationships and human nature.

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The Analysis of Robert Frost's Poem The Telephone. (2019, Feb 20). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from

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