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18 votes
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Why does Robert Frost contradict himself in "The Road Not Taken"

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Quotes have a way of taking on a life of their own. These lines, the last three lines ...
ShreevatsaR's user avatar
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17 votes
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Has Robert Frost ever written a poem that doesn't rhyme?

Yes, there are quite a few, including "Mending Wall" "The Death of the Hired Man" "Birches" "Out, Out—" That said, most of these do have a continuous meter. ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why might Robert Frost specify a ' long two-pointed ladder' in the poem 'After Apple Picking'?

Why a 'long two-pointed' ladder, though? Are there ladders with more or fewer points? I've spent some time pondering this aspect of your question. Ladders are not generally pointed at all, but ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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13 votes

Why does Robert Frost contradict himself in "The Road Not Taken"

First let's take a quick look at what Robert Frost himself said about this poem: “One stanza of “The Road Not Taken” was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England. [It] was as ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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9 votes
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When did Robert Frost write "Two Tramps in Mud Time"?

Wikipedia's List of poems by Robert Frost includes it in a collection published in 1937. Robert Frost and the New England Renaissance by George Monteiro claims: "Two Tramps in Mud Time" was first ...
muru's user avatar
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8 votes
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What does 'trusting sorrow' mean here?

A Roadside Stand describes a small-time farmer trying to sell their produce from a stall by a busy road. The farmer is poor, wanting only a small slice of city wealth, and feels bitter that drivers ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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8 votes

Why might Robert Frost specify a ' long two-pointed ladder' in the poem 'After Apple Picking'?

As a student some sixty years ago I picked apples as part of a summer job. That is my only qualification for the following observations. Orchards today are populated with short trees to make ...
Philip Roe's user avatar
7 votes

Where did the Robert Frost Quote "If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane" come from?

You can't prove a negative, but I will (tentatively) declare Frost didn't say that As evidence, I present yearbooks. No, seriously, my evidence is going to be mostly yearbooks here. High school/...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,864
7 votes

Putting 'gently' out of pain

@muru's answer is once again correct, but I do feel there's a little additional nuance to explore here. Frost is actually mocking himself with the modifier "gently." If someone offers to kill you, ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 2,386
7 votes

What does “be one traveler” mean in “The Road Not Taken”?

It's a complex predicate. I could not travel both and be one traveler which could be broken down into I could not travel both and I could not be one traveler The second of which is grammatical ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 6,200
6 votes

Meaning of this line from "Birches"

The trees are covered in ice, and "as the breeze rises", they make clicking sounds as different ice-covered parts of the tree collide. The breeze (or "stir") cracks the "enamel" - the ice covering, ...
Josh Friedlander's user avatar
6 votes
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What are the 'N' and 'S' signs in the 'A Roadside Stand' by Robert Frost?

"N" and "S" are letters that are frequently mistakenly written backwards by children, and others of a low level of literacy. For that reason, if written on backwards on a sign they denote a barely ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 2,386
6 votes
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What is the "slow wheel" in Frost's "Into My Own"?

Virginia Smith explains in A Scientific Companion to Robert Frost: highway where the slow wheel pours the sand: This is most likely a description of the practice of spreading sand on gravel roads to ...
CDR's user avatar
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5 votes
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What is Robert Frost 'owning' in these lines?

To own, from Merriam-Webster: transitive verb a : to have or hold as property : possess b : to have power or mastery over wanted to own his own life : to acknowledge to be ...
muru's user avatar
  • 6,999
5 votes

Why does the narrator in "Stopping by Woods" stop by the woods?

Because he wants to end it all Taken at face value, Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is a pastoral poem describing a rider's pause on a journey to admire some scenery. As such, it ...
Mick's user avatar
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5 votes

What does "The Edge of Doom" mean?

The author could be alluding to Shakespeare's Macbeth (Act IV, Scene 1, with the witches) : A shew of eight Kings, and Banquo last, with a glasse in his hand. Macb. Thou art too like the ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
4 votes
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What does "The Edge of Doom" mean?

Your reading of the poem makes sense. It might help to know that the dark trees are symbolizing the future in this poem. The second line tells us that these trees rarely show a breeze. This means that ...
wythagoras's user avatar
4 votes
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Why does the narrator in "Stopping by Woods" stop by the woods?

The narrator stops because he wants to enjoy the scenery of the forest. Assuming that the journey the narrator has to make is an extensive one (miles to go before I sleep), the narrator wants to take ...
fi12's user avatar
  • 4,615
4 votes

What does "The Edge of Doom" mean?

In Sonnet 116 of Shakespeare, we also find the phrase "the edge of doom": Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come; Love alters not with his ...
Habhoub 's user avatar
4 votes

What is Robert Frost 'owning' in these lines?

As @muru described, owned has two meanings. The more familiar meaning denotes possession, but there's a less common secondary meaning of "admitting something is true," sometimes used in the ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 2,386
4 votes

Why do I have a different version of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

It is impossible for us to say how come you have a different version—we’d have to know how you learned the poem, which you didn’t tell us, and you likely don’t remember. But we can investigate the ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes

How did "they make them sleep all day" in A Roadside Stand?

This is a variant on the longstanding critique of charity/welfare as robbing people of meaningful work and giving them a suffocating idleness instead. By being given charity instead of work, the poor ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 2,386
4 votes

Why might Robert Frost specify a ' long two-pointed ladder' in the poem 'After Apple Picking'?

I think looking at the poem's meaning may be helpful here. If we assume that "After Apple Picking" is a poem about the end of life (the apple picking has been done, the ladder specifically ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes

What is the literal meaning of this line in "Birches"

"Not one but hung limp" does not mean "all except one hung limp" (even though "but" in the sense of "except" exists). In fact it means "there was not one that did not hang limp" or "all hung limp (...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
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Putting 'gently' out of pain

Whatever be the method, it's not likely to be a slow death. A slow, drawn-out death would only prolong the suffering, thus defeating the purpose of relieving the pain of the victim. Frost is talking ...
muru's user avatar
  • 6,999
3 votes
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How did "they make them sleep all day" in A Roadside Stand?

I think that to understand the poem Roadside Stand, you have to take into account when it was written. According to this webpage, it was published in the June 1936 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, and I ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
3 votes
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Use of 'this crossly' in the 'A Roadside Stand' by Robert Frost?

The this refers to the preceding phrase or dialogue; crossly means gruffly or with ill grace. The repetition is purely for emphasis. The meaning, from context, is that people who live along the big ...
Will Crawford's user avatar
3 votes

How to scan Robert Frost's "For Once, Then, Something"

TL;DR: Feet are arbitrary conventions in English verse, so you can scan the poem however you like, but Frost’s description of the metre is simpler than Gillespie’s. Thesis The linked blog post (by ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 60.1k
3 votes
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What did Robert Frost mean in his April 7 1926 letter to B.F. Skinner?

I don't know whether you were having trouble disentangling the sentence itself or only with guessing what Frost was referring to, but it's certainly a complicated sentence. Start with All that makes ...
A. B.'s user avatar
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