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"a Tuft of Flowers" by Robert Frost

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So, discoveries, they come in many varied forms and magnitude, but ultimately, they lead to new perceptions of the world, new understandings of ourselves, others and the formation of new values. Robert frost has displayed these affects in his poems; A Tuft of Flowers, And Home Burial, when in relation to the quote “happiness is only real when shared” from the book into the wild by Jon Krakauer the responder can discover the meaning of human connection and form new understandings and perceptions of the world.

When looking at the poem A Tuft of Flowers by Robert Frost, we can see how the speaker comes to understand that through the shared appreciation of nature one can find gratification. In the beginning of the poem the speaker is lonely, he has come to turn the grass after it has been cut, but is disappointed to find the mower gone. The speaker it seems accepts his loneliness in the line “And I must be, as he had been, -alone.” Frost is suggesting that the journey through life is a solitary experience and that an individual cannot rely on the companionship of others. Just as the speaker comes to accept the fate of loneliness, his gaze is caught by a butterfly a metaphor and symbol representing the human psyche. Through a process of Anthropomorphism, the butterfly leads the speaker’s eye to a tuft of flowers that the mower has spared “A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared” the strong imagery in this line is a great contrast to the bleak and lonely beginning of the poem. This is significant as these spared flowers are the catalyst for the speaker’s discovery. The flowers and the butterfly, stand as a symbol, where frost is trying to display that although everything and everyone is uniquely alone, together we are still apart of the grand scheme. By sparing the flowers the mower it seems is of the same frame of mind as the speaker and felt that the simple beauty of the flowers was worthy of them being saved. The mowers humanity in saving the flowers deeply resonates with the speaker and he feels a strong bond of fellowship with the mower this feeling of kinship is depicted in the lines “nevertheless, a message from the dawn / that made me hear the wakening birds around”, ‘the dawn’ being a metonym for the mower, the persona has discovered a new perspective of the world, how all things are connected, he can hear the birds and feels himself as a part of nature. This sense of connection and satisfaction the speaker feels alleviates his previous state of loneliness. Through the shared appreciation of nature, the speaker has been led to discover a new understanding of himself and the world, that through shared experience one can be truly satisfied.

Robert Frost’s Poem Home Burial is a sad depiction of a couple who mourn over their child’s death. The two characters of the poem guide the responder to discover the importance of human relationship, and how death causes people to change and to perceive the world and others differently. The man and women both respond to the death of their child very differently. The man is practical and stoic in his way of grieving, he digs the child’s grave in what seems to be an unemotional manner, this digging devoid of emotion is displayed in the lines “making the gravel leap and leap in air, leap up, like that, like that and land so lightly” the use of alliteration in the ‘L’ sounds gives the sense that the man was grave digging as if it he was light and unburdened, like it was just any average day of work. Whereas the woman, is emotionally distraught and cannot move on from the loss of her child. Seeing her husband digging the grave in such an unemotional manner, greatly upsets the woman and seems to be the cause of a breakdown in their communication, this breakdown is visible in the lines “my words are nearly always an offense. / I don’t know how to speak of anything / so as to please you. But I might be taught”, here the man is expressing the divide between them, and how he does not know, how to even speak to her anymore, but he wishes for better communication, offering that perhaps he can be taught. He goes on to say “a man must partly give up being a man / with womenfolk. We could have some arrangement / by which id bind myself to keep hands off” by keeping hands off, he is speaking metaphorically, promising not to talk about what is bothering her. The man can’t comprehend why the woman is so upset, for this lack of comprehension he is offering a compromise, hoping to save their relationship in some way. This loss of connection between two who once loved and understood each other. For the responder this is an important discovery of how a tragedy affects perceptions and relationships and how important, proper communication is. One should not have to compromise free speaking in a relationship. This insight into the effects of death and grief cause the responder to consider the necessity of compassion and empathy in human relationships, inevitably forming new understandings of ourselves and others.

Discoveries can lead to new values and new understandings of ourselves. This concept is explored in the quote “happiness is only real when shared” from the book into the wild by Jon Krakauer. This discovery came to be realised after a young man ‘Chris’ immerses himself in the wild in order to find himself and satisfaction. In solitude, Chris, feels that he has discovered something essential, the key to true happiness. However, when he decides it Is time to return to the world and share his experiences, he cannot escape, his route out is blocked. Forced to remain in the wild and in solitude, with no longer any hope of surviving to share with others his experiences. He discovers that isolation in the wild is not made for man, because true “happiness is only real when shared.” These are his last words, his true discovery. Alone without any form of human connection, even if it’s just knowing that eventually he will be able to share his experiences, happiness is not viable. For Chris this discovery, went against all his previous values of emotional fulfillment in solitude, he came to truly understand the nature of himself and the importance of human connection. This great realisation in the conclusion of his life, resonates strongly with the world and causes the responder to find meaning and new value in human relationship and the ability to share with others. By understanding Chris’s last realisation, we can uncover the essence of ourselves, relationship and communication.

The poem a tuft of flowers and the book into the wild, both highlight the need for human connection. In a tuft of flowers, the speaker came to a discovery that changed his understanding of himself and the world; that through the shared appreciation of nature one can be truly happy. To an extent the quote “happiness is only real when shared”, backs this discovery. But perhaps frost was to romantic in his way of thinking, that nature is the pathway to happiness. For Chris this seeking of satisfaction and contentment in nature led to him dying lonely and isolated from the world. At the beginning of Chris’s time in the wild, like a tuft of flowers he was happy and satisfied, although not consciously, but in knowing that he would eventually share his experiences with the world. Like the persona sharing love for the flowers with the grass cutter. Frost greatly romanticises nature, this is displayed in the lines “and feel a spirit kindred to my own; / so that henceforth I worked no more alone;” he feels a connection with the mower in nature, frost is suggesting that happiness can be found in the beauty of nature. This romanticism of nature, For the responder, when in contrast with Chris’s story is an important discovery, in the need for realism and the value of human relations.

Home burial and a tuft of flowers both help us find meaning in the need for communication between ourselves and others. For the responder the two poems lead to a changing perception, of others and understanding of the importance of compassion and relationship. In a tuft of flowers, the speaker Is lonely and unhappy prior to his discovery of the flowers “A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared”, after this encounter he understands the mower and he feels a shared sense of humanity. Although this communication with the mower is not verbal, it is still the cause for the persona to find happiness, this leads us to the understanding of the importance of communication between ourselves and others. Home burial on the other hand, frost depicts the breakdown of communication between two people who once loved and were happy with each other. By doing this frost leads the reader to the form new perceptions of others, and of the way that death changes relationship between people. As a responder too frosts two poems, we inevitably are lead to have changed perceptions and understandings.

In conclusion by studying Robert frost’s poems; a tuft of flowers and home burial. We can understand how discoveries lead to new perceptions, and understandings, of ourselves, the world and others. For a tuft of flowers When in relation to the book into the wild by Jon Krakauer we can form new values and understandings of the importance of human connection and the value in communication.

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