Robert Frost is among the greatest poets in history. Although his early upbringing was in the poultry farm, he embraced the beauty of nature and wrote numerous poems that earned him awards and accolades. In the majority of his poems, Frost wrote about personal and universal themes, such as decision-making, relationships, and destruction. In this discourse, I will discuss how he used figurative language in three poems, namely, “The Road Not Taken,” “Mending Wall,” and “Fire and Ice.”
Fire and Ice
In “Fire and Ice”, Frost uses symbolism, paradox, parallelism, and climax to bring out the nature of desire and hatred and its implications in people. In line 1 of the poem, he uses fire to symbolize desire and ice in line 2 for hatred. The two figurative languages serve to offer more meaning and context to the action and counteraction of desire and hate in either establishing the world or leading to its destruction. However, he also uses paradox to denote that desire has similar effects to hatred and can destroy the world if people do not distinguish the difference (Ayers 16). Additionally, he uses the phrase “some say” to open line 1 and 2 of the poem, which is a parallelism anaphora. His intentions are to establish the link between fire (desire) and ice (hatred) in ending the world. Finally, he uses climax in line 7 of the poem to denote the severity and strength of the destruction that could result from either desire or hatred (Pant 2–3).
The Road Not Taken
In the second poem, he uses figurative language that includes parallelism, symbolism, and personification. In line 1 of the poem, Frost uses the term, “road”, to symbolize life. He reminds the reader that in life, choices are inevitable. In lines 2, 3, and 4 of the poem, Frost repeats the word “And” at the beginning of each sentence, which is parallelism (Monteiro 22). The figurative language and repetition of “And” shows some of the aspects which the narrator cannot sustain or do in choosing to travel one path and not the other (Frost and Orr 1). Finally, he uses personification in line 8 of the poem, “wanted water” to describe roads using human traits. In their words, the narrator uses symbolism, parallelism, and personification in the poem to describe the nature of life choices and the consequences, which arise from them. In his case, choosing the road less traveled led to regret.
In the poem, Frost uses tautology, metaphor, symbolism, repetition, contradiction, rhetoric, and personification. In line 16, he repeats the phrase, “to each” on the same line, which is a tautology to emphasize that boulder blocked both the neighbors and the narrator. In line 24, he uses the metaphors of “all pines” and “I am apple orchard” to describe the differences between the neighbor and the narrator that necessitates building a wall (Hansen 1–2). Moreover, throughout the poem, such as in line 14, he uses the symbolism of “wall” to denote the preclusions that separate people in life. Furthermore, he considers “spring” to be a “mischief” in line 28 of the poem, which is a contradiction language. He uses the contraction to denote his unhappiness with the neighbor when his intentions were to have a happy relationship with him, before building a wall between them. Moreover, in line 30 of the poem, he uses rhetoric “why do they make good neighbors?” to question the essence of preclusions in building better relationships between people (Wulandari 40).
In conclusion, in the majority of his poems, Frost wrote about personal and universal themes, such as decision-making, relationships, and destruction. He used figurative language to make his poems relatable to the reader. He used various figures such as symbolism, rhetoric, irony, metaphor, and contradiction to paint and relate the human nature with the environment.