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There are life cycles for everything; humans, animals, and even plants. Everything that is alive will inevitably die; it is just plain unavoidable. In his paper, ““Nothing Gold Can Stay”.” Deirdre Fagan says, “…all beauty is fleeting,” a theme very much present in Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” By using imagery, symbolism, and sound, Frost shows his readers that good things will come and go, and that they are often short-lived. He also illustrates that, for the exact reason previously stated, it is extremely important for people to not take anything in life for granted, as they never know when it will be taken away.
One of the most noticeable writing devices used in “Nothing Gold Can Stay” is imagery; a literary element defined as visually descriptive or figurative language. Throughout the poem, Frost uses vividly expressive words to help readers picture the things that he is talking about. In turn, readers can then take the mental picture created by the imagery, and relate it back to the theme of the poem; entropy (Little). One example of imagery is in line five where it says, “Then leaf subsides to leaf,” (Frost). This in-depth description of leaves falling from the braches they once were once attached to makes it easy for readers to actually picture what is going on in their heads. They can almost see the leaves falling in their minds. Being able to visualize the event that was described in the poem makes understanding that specific line of the poem, as well as its relation to the theme, much easier. Another example of the imagery used throughout the poem is in line seven, which says, “So dawn goes down to day,” (Frost). While this phrase may be worded a little strangely, it is actually describing a sunrise in the morning; an occurrence which represents the beginning of something new. Readers can then tie this description of the sunrise that is used in the poem with the idea of new experiences occurring in their lives. The imagery used in the poem helps readers connect the ideas that Frost is trying to get across with phenomenon that they are generally familiar with from their everyday lives, which allows them to better understand the theme of the work.
In addition, Frost also uses symbolism throughout the poem as a way to incorporate his them more forwardly into the poem without ruining the metaphors he has already created. For example, in line one it says, “Nature’s first green is gold,” (Frost). Frost does not actually mean that trees are suddenly growing golden leaves, but that the new life that is flourishing all around is precious; essentially, it is golden (Fagan). Another example would be the color green that is mentioned in the first line as it is usually related to nature and, in this instance, symbolizes fresh, new life and opportunities. Even the sunrise described in line seven that was previously mentioned is an example of symbolism, as it represents the start of something new. Frost employs symbolism from the very beginning of the poem all the way until the end as a way to introduce his theme to readers while also keeping the important, underlying metaphors he makes throughout the poem intact.
Additionally, Frost uses a pronounced rhythm in “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” in order to create a definitive sound, and even to create a bit of irony. Throughout the poem, Frost builds an almost nursery-rhyme like cadence with his use of a regular, rhythmic pattern (Little). This is partially due to the fact that the poem itself is actually compromised of four rhyming couplets or two lines of verse with the same meter and joined by rhyme. The end rhyme present all through the poem creates a sort of sing-songy effect on the whole. An example of this rhyming pattern is in lines one and two, since line one ends with the word “gold,” and line two ends with the word “hold,” which is a perfect rhyme; an element of rhyme that occurs when the final vowel and consonant sounds between two or more lines are identical. This childlike modulation is a bit of an ironic juxtaposition, considering the serious nature of the poem (Little). Moreover, the lines are all complete phrases, a trend that can be referred to as end-stopped. These end-stopped lines also help form the regular beat that is present throughout the entire work. The well-defined, almost lyrical rhythm that Frost uses until the end of the poem creates an incredibly distinct and memorable sound overall.
In his poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Robert Frost employs multiple writing devices, including imagery, symbolism, and sound to drive home his message that entropy and death are inevitable, and that people should cherish the good things they have while they have them because, sooner or later, they will be gone. Everything has its time, and nothing will last forever. Things come and go faster than a blink of an eye, which is why it is so incredibly important to not take the experiences, people, and things that we value for granted. Just like the sunrise or the freshly grown leaves on the trees that are described in the poem, even the most beautiful things in life will eventually lose their beauty, so appreciate that beauty while it lasts.
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