Analysis Of A Swinger Of Birches

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A Swinger of Birches
Hardened by the daily toils and responsibilities, the soft innocence of youth is easily forgotten with age. Walking through the woods in solitude, a man lets his busy mind wander for a moment. With the sight of trees swaying in the wind, his mind understands that the heavy ice and snow is what bends the thin trees. But his heart wonders if it was a boy’s doing – climbing to the top of the trees just to bend them enough so he can let go and fall safely to the ground – that led to the misalignment of the trees. Around this fantasy of an imaginary boy, Frost builds the contrast between youthful imagination and the burdens of adult reality. Frost’s main message in Birches seems to be that even with its hardships, life is not
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Frost begins the poem by isolating birches from other trees in the forest. The speaker sees swaying birches “[a]cross the lines of straighter darker trees” (line 2). As birches have light white-grey bark, the visual light-dark contrast brings birches to the front of the mind, giving it distinct focus. This also gives the reader an important textural image of the elasticity of the birch tree when compared dark and rigid trees around it. The use of extended metaphors throughout the poem continues to broaden the diverging images of flexibility and rigidity. The “crystal shells [s]hattering and avalanching on the snow-crust” like ‘heaps of broken glass to sweep away” (lines 10-12) compares the layer of ice around the tree to a crystal shell that break when the tree bend. Not only does the line enhance the image with descriptive language, the sight makes the speaker think “the inner dome of heaven had fallen” (line 13) and begins to direct the reader into an imaginative world. The shattering of the crystal barrier that once separated the earth and sky, what bounded the mind to reality away from imagination, now gone. The metaphor proceeds to exemplifies how the birches itself “seems not to break” (line 15) while the fragile ice surrounding it breaks and falls …show more content…
However, Frost does not let this take away his imaginative childlike spirit. Frost’s use of a simile comparing the bent trees to girls drying their hair in the sun (line 20), shows how the imagination can carry the mind

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