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Literary Analysis of Robert Frost's Poem Fire and Ice

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Words: 809 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Oct 25, 2021

Words: 809|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Oct 25, 2021

Analysis of the poem

In the poem “Fire and Ice,” by Robert Frost readers learn of his thoughts on how the world might terminate. The emotion he conveys seems to convey is remorse and disgust, as shown in line five, “I think I know enough of hate.” Frost’s persona of his voice is exposed in line five as being wise. The tone he uses throughout the poem can be understood as serious. The tone can be shown in lines one and two where he says, “Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice.” He is discussing the perishing of people and all other life in the world. It can also be shown in line five when he talks of perish, “But if it had to perish twice.”

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The form Frost uses in this poem is a single nine-line stanza. It is an example of an epigram as explained by Kirszner and Mandell, “a short poem that makes a pointed comment in an unusually clear, and often witty, manner” (Kirszner and Mandell 510). In line four Frost says, “I hold with those who favor fire,” but in lines seven, eight, and nine he says, “To say that for destruction ice / Is also great / And would suffice.”

This seems to be a little bit puzzling as to readers not perceiving precisely where Frost stands. Also equally important, “Fire and Ice,” is a single line stanza. The only punctuation used in this poem is at the conclusion of specific lines. Additionally, Frost also uses end-stopped lines such as at the end of lines one and two when he says, “Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice.” He uses a comma to continue line one into line two with a period to end line two.

The word choice Frost uses in “Fire and Ice,” is conveyed as abstract in lines one and two. This is presented by him trying to express how some people believe the world will end. It is also shown in line three when he says, “From what I’ve tasted of desire”. Another illustration shown in line three is connotation by his understanding of desire, and in line six when he refers to hate. He uses poetic diction throughout the poem. Frost also uses some figurative language in lines three and six when he mentions desire and hate. He is referring to the lust and hatred of humanity in the world. Frost also uses a metaphor to compare fire to desire and ice to hate. He also uses repetition when he says some say in lines one and two.

Frost uses rhyme at the ends of lines three and four when he says, “From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire.” He also uses it in lines five, seven, and nine when he says, “But if it had to perish twice…………………To say that for destruction”, then lastly in line nine, “And also would suffice.” The meter he uses is an iambic meter. An iambic meter is also called a rising meter due to development from unstressed to stressed syllables. This is expressed in line four when he says, “I hold with those who favor fire.” Frost also uses alliteration in line four when he says “…favor fire.” An example of rhythm is how he uses eight syllables in his lines. This begins in line three, “From what I’ve tasted of desire.”

The overall theme Robert Frost aspires for readers to interpret is that the hatred and desires of the world is what will ultimately be the destruction of it. “That hatred and indifference are equally destructive'. This is expressed by his use of figurative language when comparing fire to desire, and ice to hate, “From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire…………I think I know enough of hate / To say that for destruction ice”. He believes that these will sooner or later consume humanity and destroy the world. Anna Banks says, “and we could say that fire consumes solid elements, represents passion and danger'. Passion and desire can be considered similar reactions.

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Baron Wormser also believes that Frost is speaking on human behavior, “In 'Fire and Ice' one encounters the typical Frost posture—that of someone's entertaining notions about human behavior”. The human behaviors are what affect the world in great and numerous ways. Frost is indicating that he believes people should change for the better, and along the way saving humanity will also save the world from peril.

Works Cited

  1. Banks, Anna, and Stephen Banks. Fiction & Social Research: By Fire or Ice. AltaMira Press, 1998, p. 13.
  2. Kirszner, Laurie, and Stephen Mandell. Portable Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Cengage Learning. 2016, p. 510.
  3. Wormser, Baron. Meeting the Agony: Three Poems of the Twentieth Century. Sewanee Review, vol. 116, no. 3, Summer 2008, pp. 411–427. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1353/sew.0.0065.
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Literary Analysis Of Robert Frost’s Poem Fire And Ice. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-robert-frosts-poem-fire-and-ice/
“Literary Analysis Of Robert Frost’s Poem Fire And Ice.” GradesFixer, 25 Oct. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-robert-frosts-poem-fire-and-ice/
Literary Analysis Of Robert Frost’s Poem Fire And Ice. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-robert-frosts-poem-fire-and-ice/> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Literary Analysis Of Robert Frost’s Poem Fire And Ice [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Oct 25 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-robert-frosts-poem-fire-and-ice/
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