Date of Award

1978

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English

Department

English

First Advisor

Sydney Howard White

Abstract

Robert Frost is a twentieth century poet who deals realistically with his world through man and nature. Frost is still widely thought of as a nature poet, but this is a misconception. Although most of his poems are filled with nature images, his real subject is humanity. Frost admitted that he "had only three or four pure nature poems. The rest were human portraits with a nature setting."

Frost's poetry differs from that of nineteenth century poetry in response and tone--his subtlety and sly wit is often undetected except by the most observant, his material is presented honestly and without sentimentality. Frost's focus remains on the drama of man in nature whether it is in his lyric, narrative, or dramatic poetry. The unique form of Frost's nature poetry represents his way of presenting man and nature along the usual lines of a contemporary poet.

In his themes of fear, isolation and acceptance, Frost is often in conflict with nature. He strives to keep man and nature independent of each other because they are separate entities, not to be unified, and not to be joined. Frost is well aware of man's limitations, and in coping with these limited capabilities he realizes that man mu.st possess a strong faith in himself in order to maintain his equilibrium against nature.

Frost's dramatic poems reveal intricate tensions in human relationships. In his longer narrative poems he couples together inward fears and external problems with the most interesting results. In his lyric poetry, love appears to be more prevalent. Love, sex, and psychological relationships do, however, appear to be expressions of what he sees to be central to human relationships.

Robert Frost is a twentieth century poet of man and nature; he is a major poet of our time. To Frost, nature may be a symbol of man's relation to the world, but the most important aspect in h.is poetry remains his strong underlying message about man.

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