Comparing Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson as Poets
Often, the poets Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson try to convey the themes of the meaning of nature, or that of death and loneliness. Although they were born more than fifty years apart their poetry is similar in many ways. Both poets talk about the power of nature, death and loneliness. However, Dickinson and Frost are not similar in all poetic aspects. In fact, they differ greatly in tone.
Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost both talk about the power of nature in their poetry. Dickinson uses this theme in her poem " `Nature' is what we see -." The power of nature is strongly portrayed in this poem by Dickinson's articulation of what the speaker see's in nature. " `Nature' is what we see -... / Nature is what we hear -... / Nature is what we know -" (277 lines 1,5,9). Nature is everything to a person, it appeals to all senses. Dickinson also says in this poem, "So impotent Our Wisdom is / To her Simplicity" (277). The speaker is saying that nature has such great power that one can't even comprehend her simplest ways.
In comparison Frost's poem "Birches" also portrays the power of nature. Nature helps to represent the simpler things in life. Frost's poem is recalling the speakers childhood. "So was I once myself a swinger of birches. / And so I dream of going back to be" (472-473). Nature held such power over the speaker as a child that he dreamt of going back to relive being one with nature and swinging in the trees.
Dickinson and Frost both used death and loneliness as main themes. In Emily's poem "my life closed twice before its close -" it has been interpreted that the speakers life closed twice when two lovers died leaving the speaker alone. The speaker also refers to her own death when it is said, "If Immortality unveil / A third event to me" (278). The third event is referring to the speakers own death. In the last two lines of the poem, "Parting is all we know of heaven, / And all we need of hell"(278). The speaker is talking about heaven being the relief of seeing pain end for the loved one. The interpretation of hell is the pain and grief that one feels after a loved one has died.
Like Dickinson, Frost also conveys the themes of death and, even more so, loneliness. In his poem, "Acquainted with the Night" the speaker "outwalked the furthest city light" (466). The narrator of this poem has walked outside of society. He has "walked out in rain-and back in rain"(466), this symbolizes that the speaker has endured a lot. Frost's poem "Fire and Ice" not only speaks of the end of the world, but also the end of the speaker himself:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire. (466.1-4)
The speaker has been in love and knows that desire, that is why he wants to end in the heat of fire. The speaker then talks about how he would feel if he had to die twice: