Robert Frost1

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Robert Frost1



Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874 in San Francisco. His father
was William Frost, a Harvard graduate who was on his way westward
when he stopped to teach at Bucknell Academy in Pennsylvania for
extra money. His mother, Isabelle Moodie began teaching math at
Bucknell while William was there, and they got married and moved to
San Francisco. They were constantly changing houses, and William
went from job to job as a journalist. About a year after moving to San
Francisco, they had Robert. They named him Robert Lee Frost, after
William\'s childhood hero, Robert E. Lee.
Frost\'s father died from tuberculosis at age thirty-four, in 1885.
Isabelle took Robert and his sister back east to Massachusetts. Soon
they moved to Salem, New Hampshire, where there was a teaching
opening. Robert began to go to school and sit in on his mother’s
classes. He soon learned to love language, and eventually went to
Lawrence High School, where he wrote the words to the school hymn,
and graduated as co-valedictorian. Frost read rabidly of Dickens,
Tennyson, Longfellow, and many others. Frost was then sent to
Dartmouth college by his controlling grandfather, who saw it as the
proper place for him to train to become a businessman. Frost read
even more in college, and learned that he loved poetry.
His poetry had little success getting published, and he had to
work various jobs to make a living, such as a shoemaker, a country
schoolteacher, and a farmer. In 1912 Frost gave up his teaching job,
sold his farm, and moved to England. He received aid from poets suck
as Edward Thomas and Rupert Brooke, and published his first two
volumes of poetry, A Boy\'s Will in 1913, and North of Boston in 1914.
These works were well received not only in England, but also in America.
Frost returned to America in 1915 and continued writing his poetry.
He produced many volumes of poetry, among which are Mountain
Interval (1916), West-Running Brook (1928), A Further Range (1936),
A Masque of Reason (1945), and In the Clearing (1962). Frost
received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times (1924, 1931, 1937,
1943) and became the first poet to read a poem at the presidential
inauguration of John F. Kennedy. His poetry was based mainly on life
and scenery in rural New England, and reflected many values of
American society.
He died on January 29, 1963 in Boston, Massachusetts. His
epitaph reads: "I had a lovers quarrel with the world."

Frost once said, "I guess I must be just an ordinary man" (Cox 5)
and though he is, without a doubt, and extraordinary man, there is
some truth in the statement. Throughout his poetry, Frost seems to
make many attempts to appeal to the common working American and
his feelings. He does this through the subject matter and themes as
well as through the diction he uses. "An ordinary man is one whose
imagination and character result from the constant impact of the
irresistible force of desire against the immovable object necessity, the
impact of feeling against reason, and the impact of faith against fact"
(Cox 17). It is for this reason that Frosts work speaks to and for all
men.
Many of the poems Frost wrote deal with situations set in a
simple, rural setting. The characters he creates are very realistic, and
are not romanticized. This is one reason why people can relate to the
poems. His characters "seem more real than their neighbors with
manifest reservations" (Cox 8). One could say that the people are
more three-dimensional than just imaginative words on a paper. He
uses farmers and workers in his poetry, and sometimes he pokes fun at
the more "sophisticated" people and how they feel. Frosts world is one
that is related to a real world with its definite boundaries in time and
space (Gerber 90).
Frost seems to have a good understanding of the world in which
his characters, ordinary people, live. He understands the necessities of
the ordinary man, one who has to work hard to support himself and a
family, no matter what events may take place. An example is the
poem "Out, Out-", in which a young boy has his hand accidentally cut
off by a

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Poetry, Literature, Robert Frost, Edward Thomas, Liam Frost, North of Boston, Frost, Out, Out, Mending Wall

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