The North-East of the United States is called a reserve of the American cultural “soil”. This is the land of the farmers, harsh and unsmiling people. In this inhospitable environment, one farmer lived. He wrote the poems. They were wise poems about nature, love, and common events of the farm life. At the first attempt to publish, the young poet was called “too romantic” and was not taken seriously. However, now Robert Frost is a beloved grandfather of America.
The question is whether Robert Frost is a modernist poet. It has two answers. One of them is positive, the other one – negative. It depends on the works you study. For example, such works as “The Road Not Taken” are the traditional and do not change the form or idea of the 19th century literature. Many works prove that Robert Frost is a modernist author. However, they differ from the works of the other poets in the modernism wave.
The modernist poetry is special because of its constant experiment with forms and references. It is the elastic culture. It makes this poetry different from the traditional type of versed literature. Frost took his poetry away from the traditions by his choice of the topic, by using the colloquial language and mundae subjects (Kern). He wrote mostly about rural life and working class. Moreover, the modernistic topic of his poems was nature. It is relevant for many of his works, such as “The Death of the Hired Man”, “Home Burial” and “Two Tramps in Mud Time”, and others. The first two poems include not only the nature motives, but also a conflict inside the married couples. Robert Frost did not describe the nature as the dream world. He showed the realistic hostile world of the modern urban environment. In the poem “Home Burial”, the author uses the point of the self-centeredness as the basis. The husband and wife who are the characters of the poem have completely opposite points of view on life. The woman is morally killed by the death of her first newborn child. Moreover, she cannot accept the fact that her husband buried their son. Even though, they both understand the depth of their grief, the husband accepts the fact of the child’s death as an accident, and he can move forward. He tries to convince his wife and persuades her with such arguments as:
“No, from the time when one is sick to death
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One is alone and he dies more alone.
Friends make pretence of following to the grave
But before one is in it, their mind is turned” (Frost)
The author shows with these words the selfish human nature which betrays the dead and replaces the sympathy. This is what makes the poem modernistic. It presents the modern crises.
The modernistic approach is clear in the poem “Mending Wall”. The basic topic is the isolation. The humans build the boundaries which isolate them from the rest of the world and other people. The physical and abstract isolation of the person is the feature which underlines the modernism of Robert Frost’s work (Kern). In this poem, he opened the topic and gave the reader an opportunity to make his/her own conclusions whether to keep the wall or to let it down:
“Good fences make good neighbor
And the modern radical farmer says:
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” (Frost)
Robert Frost brought the untraditional topics and style to the poetry of his time. The new point of view and new description of life make his works modernistic and innovative. Modernism is the difference of the form and content, so it is the feature of the Robert Frost’s poetry.
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