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Desert Places Robert Frost And Loneliness

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Robert Frost is one of the most famous and influential poets in our nation's history. His simple style of writing and constant attention to nature make his poems unique. His poems have captivated thousands and have been analyzed time and time again. Many feel that his poems often times represent emptiness, loneliness, and despair. The poem "Desert Places" could certainly fall into these categories. Robert Frost was a very successful poet with a wife and loving family which begs the question, "Why would Robert Frost choose to write this poem at this period in his life?"

When attempting to answer this question one must first analyze the poem. "Desert Places" is a poem told by a third person observer who initially is focusing on a snowy field. In the third line Frost states, "And the ground almost covered smooth in snow." This starts to paint the image of an empty field being covered by more and more snow. Towards the end of the poem Frost makes reference to the stars. Space between stars is perhaps the biggest empty space we can begin to comprehend. "Desert Places" are demonstrated through the use of a snowy field and outer space. This is the obvious observation but the poem seems to be referring to much more. In line eight the poem Frost writes, "The Loneliness includes me unawares." Albert J. Von Fronk makes an interesting observation in saying, "The poet notes that he, too, is "absent-spirited"; he, too, is "included" in the loneliness." It is not just the animals and snowy field the speaker is accusing of being lonely but them self as well. The field seems to be a metaphor for the speaker's loneliness.

Frost demonstrates that what he feels inside is far most vast than even the stars. Edward Hirsch states it best when he wrote, "He knows a desolation inside that can match and even outdo any desolation that exists apart from him." Hirsch also notes how the very last line of the poem reveals the poem's title. When one reads the title of the poem this time around, one has a very different sense of the meaning. The very worst "Desert Places" are within the speaker and ultimately Robert Frost.

By 1936, astronomers had realized that the hazy balls they sometimes saw in their telescopes, which looked like stars obscured by gas, were actually galaxies (Hibbison). This is when people realized that there is a lot more space between stars than what was once first thought. This is what Frost is referring to in the forth stanza of "Desert Places." It is interesting to note that Frost says that these spaces are not the scariest but rather the spaces inside of us (Hibbison). The places inside of us seem to be our hearts and perhaps out brains. Anissa Moore feels that The Great Depression contributed to Frost writing this. This would be a very logical argument. The Great Depression hit many very hard during this time period and even caused many suicides. This was definitely a low point in American history.

Moore also feels that another contributing factor for the loneliness expressed in this poem was the death of Robert Frost's father. Robert Frost's father died of tuberculosis on May 5th, 1885 (Poirier). Robert Frost was eleven years old. Life without one's father cannot be easy and must have been very traumatic for Frost. After his father died his family was left with eight dollars. It is very clear that times were ruff during his childhood.

Robert Frost was married to former schoolmate, Elinor White in 1895 and had six children (Online-literature). In 1914 Frost published his first poems that were internationally recognized. He was now well on his way to stardom. Frost now had a wife, six children, and a well-established career. He was no longer in desperate need of money. Things seemed to be going very well in his life. The question must still be asked, "Why would Robert Frost choose to write this poem at this period in his life?" "Desert Places" was written in 1936. Robert Frost was sixty-two years old when he wrote this poem.

Could Robert Frost of written this poem due to a significant event in his life? In other words, was he feeling this sense of loneliness due to a loss of some kind? Tragically, in 1938 his wife died (Literature Network). This would be very traumatizing for someone and would seem like a very logical explanation for the messages he seems to express in "Desert Places." Loneliness and a sense of emptiness would most likely come into play in anyone's life if this were to happen to them. The problem with this theory is that "Desert Places" was written in



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