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The Tuft of Flowers
Transcript of The Tuft of Flowers
by Robert Frost Repetition Imagery Personification Symbolism Paradox/ Dialogue Structure Outside of Realm Theme - Heroic couplet
- 21 stanzas; 2 lines each; each stanza has its own thought emphasizing the simplicity of the poem
- 42 lines
- end rhymes (ie. aa, bb, cc, dd, etc)
-all rhymes are masculine
- conflict in 5th stanza saying that everyone is alone which is then resolved at the end of poem "Men work together," I told him from the heart, / Whether they work together or apart." (lines 41-42)
Saying that men work together but how can they work together if they are apart. In this case, that makes it paradox. The true meaning is people are together even when others are not physically there. People will always be there for each other despite being together. “But he turned first, and led my eye to look/At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,”
The tuft of flowers becomes a symbol of what unites the speaker and the mower. The speaker recognizes in himself the feelings that led the mower to spare the tuft of flowers, and, with this recognition, he feels a bond between his values and the other man’s values, between his work and the other man’s work “A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared/Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.”
Frost personifies the scythe by saying that it “spared” the tuft of flowers when it was really the mower who decided to not cut it down. “On noiseless wing a bewildered butterfly,/Seeking with memories grown dim o'er night/Some resting flower of yesterday's delight.”
- The butterfly is personified as bewildered, having a memory, responding with delight.
- The butterfly symbolizes change and how change in one’s life can cause one to realize the similarities between others values and one’s own. - Diction plays a very prominent role in creating the imagery present in this poem-
- Visual imagery (sense of seeing) and Kinesthetic imagery (sense of physical action) is present as well as auditory imagery (sense of hearing) and Tactile imagery (sense of touch) that allows the reader to become immersed in the poem and connect with it as it allows the reader to put themselves in that position. - Visual:
“round and round”
“view the leveled scene”
“flew as far as the eye could see”
“led my eye to look” - Kinesthetic:
“I looked for him..”
“’As all must be… I said”
“I thought of questions”
“And feel a spirit kindred to my own” - Auditory:
“I listened for his..”
“On noiseless wing…”
“…Made me hear the wakening”
“…hear his long scythe whispering to the ground…” -Tactile:
“Feel a spirit” Alone:
emphasizes his isolation and this word is only present in the 1st half of the poem- shows that he is lonely until he meets the butterfly.
“Worked no more alone” – he feels the presence of someone next to him and therefore doesn’t feel lonely. “Whether they work together or alone” the first time it is said- it emphasizes his alienation and isolation from others
In the context, more stress is laid upon the “apart” aspect which would therefore emphasize his loneliness and his content state of mind when his isolation was in question.
Also plays into the theme as an individual can contribute to society without being directly involved. For example, a farmer who is away from urbanization can contribute to the city without being forced into the urban lifestyle and in that way they are still working together as that is how a society is run- by working together. The 2nd time the line is said, Frost says that “Men work together” which shows his acceptance of society and his introduction to how society works.
-The 1st time he says it, he says it to himself, whereas the 2nd time it said to someone- and both times genuinely from the heart this shows his genuine sincerity when thinking these thoughts (not fake-but his actual thoughts)
Death and his acceptance of it- and his belief that people can be there spiritually or physically. “Butterfly”:
Very prominent symbol but the repetition emphasis his introduction to society and to opening himself – thus the blooming and the morning grow from being isolated to talking amongst peers and others about his problems.
Emphasizes his need for friendship or just someone there to hold his secrets. “Butterfly weed” is a flower and its all very close together- and he’s being introduced to it. “Mowed or mown”:
Emphasis the loss of someone- and how its time to start again and “let the grass grow” “Scythe”:
Scythe: tool the Grim Reaper holds
In this context its repetition emphasis the fact that there is some happiness that has been spared throughout the sad of the speaker’s life- And if it was a death- then it shows emphasis on the fact that the death left happy moments- such as memories behind which can flourish, bloom, etc. “Men work together, whether they work together or apart.” In other words: we are never alone, even if there is no one physically present with us at the time.
The poem moves from a sense of individuality to a sense of companionship, from a sense of working alone to a final recognition that “men work together.” Different from his other poems because most of them are about loneliness, but this poem talks about the unity between men.
Tone is very tranquil
Setting of the poem: written in 1906, the grass was mowed by hand using a scythe; usually done in the dew of the morning for better mowing;
Relevant to his life; it is not necessary for that individual to be physically present at the time; rather one his presence in your heart is what matters