Desert Places by Robert Frost Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast In a field I looked into going past, And the ground almost covered smooth in snow, But a few weeds and stubble showing last. The woods around it have it – it is theirs. All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count; The loneliness includes me unawares. And lonely as it is, that loneliness Will be more lonely ere it will be less – A blanker whiteness of benighted snow With no expression, nothing to express.They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places In the poem “Desert Places” by Robert Frost, The speaker is a lonely man who is not feeling a sense of belonging within himself. Also winter does not offer to help the lonely man. Instead it assists his feelings of loneliness. “And the ground almost covered smooth in snow” (line 3).
As line three indicates, the speaker is watching an empty field being covered by more and more snow.This connotes concealing the beauty of the field. The snow imagery communicates the feelings of disappointing winter and emptiness. The observation of loneliness in winter and isolation from the world is nothing compare to the feelings of loneliness and emptiness within. This meaning is effectively communicated by the poem’s imagery and by the denotation and connotation of the words Frost has chosen. In the first stanza, the setting is developed with the use of words ‘night’ and ‘snow’ and they both carry negative connotation.Snow is employed throughout the poem to show the lack of identity; it also has characteristics of cold and formless white sheet.
This observations show an image of snow falling fast, destroying the beauty of the field and covering up everything that is living. Similarly the ‘night’ has a negative connotation of darkness, the blackness and visionless that signals the depression and loneliness that the speaker is feeling. The concept of ‘falling fast’ both words which are mentioned twice in the first line of the first stanza, suggests descending uncontrollable and unstoppable.All four words create images that describe the mood of the speaker’s inescapable depression as result of the ‘ground covered smooth in the snow’ (3) and the feeling of emptiness within. In the second stanza the word ‘theirs’ denotes belonging; explaining the woods have something to feel a part of. The speaker still feels lonely. Also the word ‘smothered’ denotes suffocation and blockage.
Although the animals are ‘smothered’ by the snow and feel helpless and alone, they are smothered in ‘their lairs’.The last line of the second stanza is really important because the word ‘loneliness’ is mentioned for the first time in the poem. The world ‘loneliness’ denotes without company and isolated. In line seven, the speaker is ‘too absent-spirited to count,’ he is sadly alone. In the eighth line ‘the loneliness includes me unaware,’ the speaker notices unexpectedly he too is included in the ‘loneliness. ’ It is not just the animals and the empty field covered with snow the speaker is blaming of being lonely but also himself as well.The speaker loses enthusiasm.
In the third stanza, It is the most straightforward and haunting stanza of the poem because it practically induces ‘loneliness’ into the reader. ‘Lonely’ and ‘loneliness’ are mentioned three times in this stanza. ‘Will be more lonely ere it will be less—’ (10) The speaker admits that the weather and more so him feeling lonely will only get worse before it gets better. The word ‘blanker’ and ‘benighted’ are used in this stanza to give imagery of how empty and lonesome the persona is feeling.In line twelve, the imagery of depression and absence of identity is furthermore supported when the speaker compares himself to the snow to say ‘With no expression, nothing to express’ (12) mentioning his lack of identity and him falling into loneliness. The fourth and last stanza is where the speaker is most confident. The word ‘scare’ is mentioned twice in this stanza and it denotes fear.
In the first line of the fourth stanza the speaker says he worries no more of empty and lonely spaces. The word ‘star’ denotes space, but it also connotes to an example of loneliness ‘where no human race is. (14) The speaker does not coward anymore of lonely empty spaces, he does not need empty fields covered with formless snow and space filled with loneliness to scare him; it’s already inside of him. The last line of the poem ‘To scare myself with my own desert places,’ (16) contain an image which displays Frost’s thought that fear comes from within oneself rather than without. No matter how you view or understand this poem ‘Desert places’ by Robert Frost; we can all agree that imagery, connotation, and denotation play an important role in explaining the poem’s total meaning.
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