Explanation Of Interpretation In Desert Places By Robert Frost

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Robert Frost’s “Desert Places” is a somber, introspective journey through a barren landscape choked by the smothering presence of snowfall. Although the poem begins with a lens trained on the surrounding landscape, the narrator’s thoughts eventually turn inward by the final stanza as the narrator compares the current frozen landscape to the vast desert of isolation and loneliness within himself. Frost utilizes repetition to both emphasize the rhythm of snow and night descending and to underscore the sensations felt by the narrator as he travels by his lonesome on the path before him. As the poem closes, the narrator comes to a realization which is—in a way—comforting but equally frightening: the pervading chill and darkness around cannot scare …show more content…
He continues by stating that these animals are “smothered in their lairs” tucked away from the world, yet he is “too absent-spirited to count.” In the former line, the word “smothered” is a strong, conscious choice made by Frost. While it it is being used to describe the way the animals’ homes are packed with snow, it can also mean they are being smothered by a sense of isolation and seclusion. Another meaning of note is that to smother something or someone is to suffocate them, thereby killing them. This bleakness carries over into the next line, with the speaker saying that he is “too absent-spirited to count.” This insinuates that the speaker’s mind has gone away from the scene before him and has traveled elsewhere. He has lost his focus, so much so that he is unable to take anything around him into account. However, there is a dual meaning behind this line, as the speaker also cannot find that he counts at all among the natural world he is currently occupying. The only thing that seems to matter now is the sensation of pure “loneliness” he feels in response to the surrounding landscape. Both the second and third stanza are intertwined on this spiritual plane which the speaker suddenly finds himself in. The world is no longer merely covered in the physical presence of snow, but also in the emotional presence of …show more content…
This emphasis is done to underscore the despair the speaker finds himself wallowing in as the snow and the night become almost too much to bear. In the following line, Frost employs juxtaposition, pitting “blanker whiteness” next to “benighted snow,” highlighting the contrast between the whiteness of the snow to the darkness of the nigh settling over it. The narrator’s tone steeps further into these aimless albeit unpleasant thoughts, as he claims that the snow has “no expression, nothing to express.” Both phrases convey the same messages, conflated by their appearance in the poem next to one another. The snow seems to take on a ghastly, frightening presence, as it cloaks everything in sight. It has buried all—emotion, sensation, life—and this quality has forced the speaker to consider his place in relation to his environment, obliterating his sense of self and what he has known before his arrival on the path. All that is around him is indifferent to his suffering, faceless and uncaring. Here, the speaker finds himself at a precipice, as if he has reached a cliff and is peering over the edge. This is a point at which he must

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