Desert Places Analysis by Robert Frost

Desert Places Analysis: In this poem, the narrator describes a winter landscape in relation to his own feeling of loneliness. The first stanza sets the scene by mentioning the coldness and the darkness of the surrounding field, and the soft s and f sounds reflect the smooth untouched snow that covers the earth as well as the quietness of the scene, muted by the snow.

However, although such a scene could be described to be beautiful by some, the narrator picks out “weeds” and “stubble” which are words that suggest undesirability and the narrator’s discomfort as he examines the scene.

The word “smothered” in the second stanza also has a sense of suffocation which could reflect the narrator’s own feelings of being oppressed by the sheer emptiness of the field.

The feeling of isolation that the narrator experiences is emphasized in the third stanza where a bleak picture is painted.

Desert Places Analysis

Throughout the poem, the third person plurals (ie they, theirs etc) are used in contrast to the singular first-person pronouns (ie I, me etc). This emphasizes how the narrator is separated from the rest of nature which is described as a collective.

There is a clear emphasis on the fact that the snow-covered landscape has no meaning on its own, which I think ties in with what the final stanza is saying about nature in relation to man.

From the description of the field, the perspective is widened to look at the stars. The way in which he says “on stars where no human race is” suggests how he now acknowledges that he himself is pretty small in the whole scale of the universe and how his state of loneliness could be considered not lonely in comparison to the emptiness out there in the distance.

The final two lines include four pronouns that refer to himself, which shifts the main focus of the poem from the landscape onto the narrator. These lines suggest that the landscape, which he described earlier to be bleak and empty, is an illusion that is a result of his own sense of loneliness.

Overall, I think Robert Frost is saying that our perspective of a landscape is dependent on our internal thoughts and emotions. When we feel lonely or depressed, we are more likely to see a scene like this and describe it as blank and empty, when at other times, we might describe as beautiful and tranquil.

We can become enveloped in our own emotions and forget our measure on the overall scale of the place, time and significance and I think Frost has a point that “I have it in me… To scare me with my own desert places”.

I am not saying that we are insignificant nor am I claiming that we should all get a move on with our lives and that our emotions do not matter; because it does, and when we feel down, we have a right to feel down until we feel better.

But I think this is a beautiful poem that makes me reflect on the fact that our perspectives are influenced by our internal conditions and I think that Frost quite accurately conveys the thoughts of the narrator and his realization that his view is a result of his own imagination.
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