Poetry Essay Compare & Contrast: Williams vs.. Frost BY Fallacy Jesus Parental English 102 ; Honors Professor M. Essay #1 Poetry Compare & Contrast Due: February 20, 2011 Life Must Go On their time and still highly regarded as two of the best poets of all time. Robert Frost was born in 1874 in San Francisco, California according to The Associated Press. William Carols Williams was born in 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey, according to the beautification. Org. Both men died Just two months apart in 1963. Williams is the author of the poem “Spring and All” and Frost is the author of “Dust of Snow”.
These two poems have a small number of differences, but are big differences, nonetheless. The differences are especially noticeable in the way that the poems are structured and the way in which they sound. In “Dust of Snow” Frost uses a specific type of rhyme scheme, whereas Williams does not. Also, quantitatively, “Spring and All” is much longer with regards to Frost’s 8 line poem. The poems, however, share many similarities that include feelings of hopelessness, despair, and even death. The poems also convey feelings of hope and optimism.
The beautiful accomplishment hat each poem shares Is how they are both able to turn their depressing tone Into a hopeful one. These differences and similarities are all done through each poet’s use of tone, symbolism, diction, imagery, and personification. “Spring and All” and “Dust of Snow” are very different in the way that they are structured. Although both poems are being told in the narrative structure, “Spring and All” has no rhyme scheme. The structure of “Spring and all” Is extremely subtle and can easily be overlooked If not analyzed more carefully.
It Is a poem made up of seven stanzas. The first 4 stanzas are seemingly unstructured with lines numbering 6, 2, 5, and 2, respectively. This “unstructured” structure in the former part of the poem is symbolizing chaos. Then, the poem ends with 3 very structured stanzas that contain 4 lines each. The latter part of the poem is symbolizing order. The structure of Williams’ poem is a direct parallel to the meaning of “Spring and All”, which is: even In the most muddled of places – chaos, CAN TURN INTO ORDER. Dust of Snow Is a poem that Is unequivocally structured. It Is a poem of one stanza that has an alternate rhyme scheme of backed. The rhyme scheme that “Dust of Snow’ has makes it a very pleasant poem to read out loud. “Spring and All” does not have the same aesthetically pleasing sound as “Dust of Snow. However, in examining each poem a little deeper and on its own merits, the reader is able to see the beauty and the intricacy that each poem has to offer. “Spring and All” and “Dust of Snow have many similarities which are specifically depressing tone.
However, both poets find a way to transition their respective poems into a more positive mood with their use of diction and imagery. William Carols Williams’ begins the despairing mood of “Spring and All” with the lines: “By the road to the contagious hospital” (L 1). Already, the reader is getting a sense of eeriness and discomfort with Williams’ use of “contagious”. When we think of contagious, we think of something that’s disease spreading and therefore do not want to be anywhere near it. The poem also portrays an image of barrenness with the words: “cold” (AL), “waste” (AL), and “fields” (AL).
When the reader hears these words within the same stanza, he or she can only picture a wasteland -a milieu of nothingness. Then, in the hard stanza, Williams writes: “All along the road the reddish/purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy/stuff of bushes and small trees/with dead, brown leaves under them/leafless vines-” (AL-13). Here, Williams is conveying a feeling of lifelessness. He uses diction that includes the words “dead” and “leafless” to promote such a feeling. The introduction into this poem is not of a happy sentiment, but of a dismal one.
Then, Williams finds a way to change the depressing mood of his poem by using specific words to convey feelings of hope. He does this in his fourth stanza with the nines: “Lifeless in appearance, sluggish/dazed spring approaches” (L 14-15). Williams is saying that the plants, the trees, and the vines only appear to be dead, but they are not. Once again imagery is being used here. Also, what is going to save this otherwise seemingly desolate land is the approaching spring; “sluggish” and “dazed” as it may be, it is imminent – life is forthcoming.
Williams also proffers up more hope with the lines: “One by one objects are defined/rooted, they/grip down and begin to awaken” (ALL,26-27). Here, Williams uses the words “defined”, “rooted”, and “awaken” o let the reader know that life is no longer Just a hope; it is real and it is here. “Dust of Snow’ is similar to “Spring and All” in the way it too begins and ends with the same tones of “Spring and All”. In “Dust of Snow’, Frost imparts a sense of death and hopelessness immediately, especially because of the shortness of his poem.
Frost begins with: “The way a crow/Shook down on me/The dust of snow/From a hemlock tree” (L 1-4). Here, we find Frost pointing towards death with his use of diction. The “crow’ has been known to symbolize death, with all its blackness and eerie sense of being. Then, there is the Hemlock tree. Frost specifically uses the word “Hemlock” because it is a poisonous type of tree. Already we can see Frost is preparing the reader for something that is about to occur, or maybe, that death is coming upon this person. Dust of Snow’ begins its change in tone in the second half of the poem, which reads: “Has given my heart/A change of mood/And saved some part/Of a day I had rued” (AL-8). Here, Frost is saying that what could have been a regretful day turns out not to be so. Robert Frost also uses diction to draw a picture in the reader’s mind of how the poem is shifting. To promote a sense of something fatal, Frost uses the words: “crow’ (L 1) and “hemlock” (AL). Then to turn his poem into encouragement of life, Frost uses the words: “heart” (AL), “change” (6), and “saved” (L 7).
The “saved” in Frost’s seventh line is more than Just a simple save of the day, it is meant to imply a saving of his life. One final poetic – modus operandi that both authors employ in their respective poems is personification. Williams does this several times throughout his poem. In approaches”. Here he is giving spring the qualities of a human and not that of a season. He does this again with, “They enter the new world naked,/cold, uncertain of all/save that they enter. All about them/the cold, familiar wind” (L 16-19).
In these lines Williams is giving the impending plant life the same characteristics that would be given to a newborn baby – naked, cold, and uncertain. Finally, Williams uses personification to end his poem with the words “… Rooted, they/grip down and begin to awaken” (ALL-27). Here, Williams refers to the plants as “they’ and how “they’ “grip” and “awaken”; words that are not usually associated with plants, but rather with people. Robert Frost also uses personification in his poem, beginning with the lines, “The way a crow/Shook down on me/The dust of snow/From a Hemlock tree” (L 1-4).
Here, Frost is writing the poem as if the crow purposely shook the snow filled branch so that a dust of snow would intentionally fall upon this person. I have heard that crows are the smartest birds in the world, but shaking a branch to get snow on someone sounds more comical than it does genius (even in my brief acknowledgement of a crow’s intelligence, I too, gave it womanlike characteristics with “comical” and “genius”). Frost also uses personification in the lines: “Has given my heart/A change of mood” (AL-6). Hearts don’t have changes in mood. People have changes in mood.
Lastly, Frost writes: “The dust of snow/From a hemlock tree/Has given my heart/A change of mood/And saved some part/Of a day I had rued” (AL-8). Here, Frost is giving the snow the power of influence. Snow is snow. Save for avalanches, blizzards, and snowstorms, snow has no such power. However, Frost gives the snow enough power to change and save the day of a person that otherwise would have regretted it; or, even worse – not have been around to regret it at all. According to critic Linda Grimes, Williams Carols Williams’ motto is known as: “No idea but in things. His motto is meant to express to others that the way they feel and think is all inter-correlated with the physical world. Without the physical world there would be no thoughts. In the poem “Spring and All” we see how Williams uses his philosophy about the physical world to make the reader picture such a lonely and despairing landscape and to convey a feeling of hopelessness. If we did not know what dead trees, muddy fields, and leafless vines looked like, we could not have imagined “Spring and All” in our minds. This is why Williams is known as an imaging poet. And, according to poets. Rag, imaging poets “wrote free verse and were devoted to clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images” (“A brief guide to Images”). Williams does this perfectly with “Spring and All”. He provides the reader with word after word and line after line of visuals that invoke our senses, which is done without rhyme and proves his usage of free verse. Williams uses his idea of “Life is a series of present moments” (class handout), to carry the reader fluidly and momentously throughout “Spring and All”. We are able to picture in our minds every specific scene being depicted by each line in his poem.
It is why the reader is able to see the transition of his poem from negative to positive. And, with his belief that you should “Live by your senses and not by your brain” (class handout), the reader is led to believe that we should take in our environment and not always try to find a reason for it. In essence, we should “sense” our surroundings instead of trying to make sense According to the website beautification. Org, Robert Frost was known for wanting to restore to literature the ‘sentence sounds that underlie the words,’ the Vocal gesture’ that enhances meaning.
That is, he felt the poet’s ear must be sensitive to the voice in order to capture with the written word the significance of sound in the spoken word,” (“Robert Frost”). If Robert Frost is known for being this type of poet, then he does this with precision in “Dust of Snow’. It is the sound of the poem that grabs the reader, invites him in, and doesn’t let go until the entire story has been told. It is his use of rhyme that allows the reader to hear and therefore sense that meeting bad is about to happen. But, the sound too, eventually leads the reader to know that such an act never materializes. Spring and All” and “Dust of Snow’ are poems that differ mainly in the way that they are structured and the way in which they sound. “Spring and All” and “Dust of Snow’ both start off with a sense of despair and hopelessness. Yet, in both poems, the authors find a way to transition their work into a more sanguine and hopeful tone. This turnaround in overall mood occurs roughly in the latter half of each author’s respective poem. The great thing about each poem is that they both end tit a feeling of hopefulness.