The Poem Design By Robert Frost Essay

1011 Words Sep 22nd, 2015 null Page
The poem “Design” by Robert Frost is brilliantly crafted, with heavy questions woven into flowing descriptions. This poem initially seems innocuous. In the first stanza, Frost playfully recounts an image of a white spider holding a white moth on a white flower. In the next stanza, he asks a series of rhetorical questions wondering whether the strange scene was a coincidence or part of a design. In a span of 14 lines, Frost manages to turn what seems like a discovery on a morning walk into a contemplation into the nature of existence. Upon closer analysis, the simple poem reveals hidden ironies within the imagery and subtle tone changes in the stanzas. The irony and tone shifts Robert Frost incorporates into his “Design” raises questions about natural designs in the universe. Robert Frost adds irony to imagery to further the philosophical impact of the poem. The first image Frost conjures is of a morning find: a “snow-drop” spider (line 7) holding up a dead moth on a white heal-all” (line 2). The heal-all flower was “self-heal [praised] by Renaissance herbalists for healing wounds” and was used by many Western herbalists, American Indian groups, and Chinese herbalists as a panacea (Hobbs). Ironically, this “heal all” flower was not able to heal the moth and becomes the location of “death and blight” (line 4). The inability of the “heal-all” to heal all emphasizes the helplessness of the flower in the face of a governing design. Additionally, the spider, moth, and flower are…

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