Robert Frost IB English Literature A1 Paper 2 Exam Preparation

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Youth and the Loss of Innocence
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Theme. A Boy’s Will solitary youth, explores and questions the world around him e.g. Into My Own Mountain Interval loss of innocence, after WW2 esp., witnessed physical and psychological wounding of youth aging e.g. Birches Acquainted With the Night Out, Out-
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Self-Knowledge Through Nature
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Engagement with nature -> growth and knowledge, comments on human nature, metaphysical world e.g. Into My Own, nature boundaries Birches e.g. After Apple-Picking -> new understanding of eternal sleep/death Humans learn from nature, but nature is unchanged by and indifferent to human world. Nature = majestic. e.g. An Old Man’s Winter Night
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Community vs. Isolation
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Marvelled at contrast between ability to connect and ability to feel lonely/disconnected Peculiar to isolate oneself e.g. Mending Wall Almost misanthropic/disconnected e.g. Acquainted with the night
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The sound of sense and work
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e.g. Mowing Out, Out- content replicated through rhyme, meter, and alliteration
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Respect for wanderers
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e.g. Into My Own Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Acquainted With the Night increasing industrialisation, transport + industry wanderers, time of change Frost was also isolated
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INTO MY OWN
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Isolation and youth Speaker wants to leave but is leaving behind those who love him and are anxious about him changing. Certainty in wanting isolation, Frost appears to admire solitary wanderers. Comments on the openness ahead and the uncertainty of where it will lead, yet is eager to embark on journey. Frost’s comment on naivety/innocence of youth? \”So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,\” (2) With age comes wisdom and confidence, it is clear that the speaker himself is seeking to become confident and is unswayed. The poem oozes confidence in it’s simplicity and stanza structure. The only full stops are at the end of each stanza and the poem itself is 14 lines; a sonnet. AABBCCDDEEFFGG Nature imagery Title: INTO My Own speaker is literally heading into the forest, and thus into his own. Frost shows that nature can lead to self-understanding. Speaker is going into both the forest and \”my own\”, thus implying that the forest is his own. The speaker might indeed be finding his own path in the forest, but only on a metaphorical level. Nature assists understanding of self and human nature. So many paths to take in wood and not sure where it is going, same as life. Forest however is \”old and firm\”, and not affected by the breeze. Nature is unaffected by outside trespassers. Frost admires nature for being majestic and he often has a misanthropic attitude towards humans. Trees = boundary between present and future. Trees present the possibility of choice, they mask, and they connect.
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STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING
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Frost seems to appraise simplicity and isolation as positive things. Stopping by woods on a snowy evening. Remarks that he thinks he knows whose woods they are but that the owner is in the village and will not see him stopping there to watch the woods fill up with snow. The owner of the woods is not there and Frost remarks that \”My little horse must think it queer\” (5) to stop at such a place without any farmhouse near and in the darkest evening of the year. Such darkness would often portray gloom and Frost himself experienced much tragedy in his life, yet he portrays the speaker as being at peace and admiring the scenery. (similar to AWTN and AOMWN). Antithesis: \”The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.\” It depends on who is looking at it Written in iambic tetrameter (four iambs per line) Written as chain rhyme, AABA BBCB CCDC DDDD, except for the last stanza. Frost says that poem is over-analysed, but the repetition at the end \”And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.\” can be interpreted as the journey of life and sleep as death, as Frost’s poetry appears to imply upon more instances than one. E.g. \”After Apple Picking\” refers to sleep and alludes to death. There is so much in the present to get caught up in but one has far to travel before they can rest/die. Frost treats death as peaceful. The last stanza sounds like a serene chant, and the serenity gives the traveller an air of peacefulness and relief. Harbours ulteriority. Another interpretation could be that it is easy to get caught up in the \”darkness\” but the traveller says he has promises to keep before he can sleep. Frost used to treat travelling as inviting but now appears to see it as tiring. Perhaps the horse is what spurs him on, who shakes his harness bells \”To ask if there is some mistake.\” (10). In the same way that Frost is observer of the forest and the snow that is piling up in it, which the owner himself will not see, Frost also observes society and remarks upon human nature (e.g. \”Mending Wall\”). What do the woods represent? Good/bad? Owner not there, he is sensible, isolation between community and self. Horse is symbolic of society – domesticated animal. Human’s regard for beauty and what others think of them. Perhaps speaker would simply succumb to nature and break out of social conventions if possible and if disregarded the thoughts of others.
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ACQUAINTED WITH THE NIGHT
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Chain rhyme, iambic pentameter sonnet ABA BCB CDC DED FF Repetition Constantly starting with \”I have\”, as though it is a list of what he has done. Almost as though tired of having done all these things and end result is loneliness. \”I have been one acquainted with the night.\” circular structure. Diction in the choice of \”acquainted\” is an interesting choice because it appears that speaker is more than acquainted, seeing as he makes a list, almost as though there have been countless encounters. Perhaps \”acquainted\” means that he has passed the darkness, because if he knew the darkness he could not as easily distance himself from it – just as it is much easier to distance ourselves from acquaintance as oppose to someone we know. Comments on cry that comes from far away but says it is not calling him back or saying good-bye, he has no tie to society. Comments on the \”luminary clock\” which is at an \”unearthly height\”. Humans so concerned with keeping time, becomes a burden for many, yet even so even the heavens seem to pressure one to remember the time, time of days mark passing of time. Frost makes many remarks upon that which ties the earth to the sky (alluding to heaven?), also in \”After Apple Picking\” and \”Birches\”. But the moon does not actually proclaim anything, we simply attribute meaning to it. The moon is indifferent to humans. \”Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.\” We cannot expect nature to give us answers, but can be inspired by nature. Also perhaps narrator is showing his one-ness with nature because uses the moon as a \”clock\” but it does not actually tell specific time, whereas humans rely so much on times. \”I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet\” – we make the own \”noise\” in our lives, and if we pause it is silent –> loneliness or is he remarking upon our control in our lives? Isolation from society, Frost drops his eyes when he passes the watchman on his beat, because he does not want to explain.
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AN OLD MAN’S WINTER NIGHT
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The title is cozy, but appearances are deceiving, because reader is pulled into loneliness emphasised by third person. Noises around him described, nature sounds sound haunting and trees are described as roaring, which could be described as personification, though it is not uncommon for nature to be described as roaring. Nonetheless, the sound is majestic and fear-inducing, like lions. The sounds are described as familiar, but not in the same way as \”beating on a box\”. Perhaps this means that the man has had much time to simply sit idly, emphasising his loneliness and lack of adventure and meaning to anyone else. \”A light he was to no one but himself\” When we isolate ourselves we do not teach others anything – \”Mending Wall\”. Light = focal point. Only he himself is focused on himself. Humans are selfish by nature. Changes attention to the moon, a bigger light, much more overarching than himself. Identifies with moon. Anthropomorphism. One man by himself cannot keep a house but on a winter night he can, because the winter night keeps him company. \”All out of doors looked darkly in at him\” Frost often makes comments about darkness and such, but then shows that it is in fact a comfort, instead of what is commonly attributed to darkness. At one point man becomes afraid cellar and clomps to scare it. Has become afraid of the unknown, whereas when in earlier poems such as \”Into My Own\”, the unknown was gone into with confidence. Man comments on how moon is better than the sun and moves on to say that the snow and icicles are his to keep. The sun would melt them away. Poem does not have traditional rhyme scheme but makes use of alliteration – emphasis on certain sounds, mimic the sounds that the old man is experiencing. Loss of memory, emptiness even inside head. Still continues to fight for his existence. \”quiet light\” – many references to the man as light, man himself is quiet and at no point is he said to make any noise, besides the clomping which mimics the harsh sounds around him No inner thoughts of man revealed – reader is forced to remain an observer Sleep is a comfort and an escape
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BIRCHES
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Birch swinging = escaping truth of the adult world
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MENDING WALL
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