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Desert Places - Robert Frost (AP Literature)

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Alex Ryan

on 19 February 2011

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Transcript of Desert Places - Robert Frost (AP Literature)


Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it--it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less--
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars--on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places. Title Paraphrase Connotation Attitude Shifts Title Theme This poem will reflect on places that are barren or isolated. These places might not be literal deserts, but possibly spiritual deserts. Snow and night fall on a field. The ground is covered with snow, yet some weed and stubble still show. The snow covers animals in their homes. The narrator cares too little too count them. He is included in the loneliness of the scene. The blanket of snow makes everything the same and expressionless. The empty spaces between the stars do not scare him. He would rather choose his own desert spaces to fear. Rhyme: First, second, and fourth lines of each stanza.
Repetition: Falling (1), Fast (1), Lonely (9, 10) and Loneliness (8, 9)
Symbolism: Snowy Field – society, Woods – forces that govern society (5), Weeds – people ( 4), Snow – control (3) or solitude (11)
Diction: Benighted (negative connotation- mystery, ignorance)
P.O.V: Stanza three evokes a sense of loneliness by using simple language and no action verbs. The attitude of the poem is best described as mindful and individualistic. In his reflection on loneliness, the speaker refuses to accept society’s conventions. His tone might also be characterized as meditative and/or confident (13). In stanza one, there is a shift from movement (1 & 2) to suffocation
Line 7 – his individual perspective
The most obvious shift in the poem is in line 9, when the speaker changes focus to create a sense of isolation.
Line 15 – the speaker profoundly states that he wants individual choice in his life.
In “Desert Places,” the speaker reflects on individual choice v. forced constructs of society. “Desert Places” refers to both the speaker’s personal empty spaces and society’s empty spaces. He would rather choose his own since society’s spaces are restrictive. AP Questions - Desert Places 1. The tone can best be described as:
Violent, outraged
Mysterious, unknown
Meditative, isolated
Tense, busy 2. The field in this poem symbolizes:
The untamed landscape
The narrator's mind
A flowing river 3. One of the themes of this poem is:
Individual choice v. the pressure of society
Man's destruction of nature
Man's gift of contemplation
The power of nature 4. The shift that occurs in line 9 demonstrates:
A closer look at nature
A shift of focus from the narrator to the scene
A shift from nature to man
Transition from individualism to cooperation 5. The main conflict in this poem is:
Snow v. animals
Nature v. weather
Man v. society
The dominance of man
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