'They Were Welcome To Their Belief' by Robert Frost
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Care may have thought it was care.
They were welcome to their belief,
The overimportant pair.No, it took all the snows that clung
To the low roof over his bed,
Beginning when he was young,
To induce the one snow on his head.But whenever the roof camme white
The head in the dark below
Was a shade less the color of night,
A shade more the color of snow.Grief may have thought it was grief.
Care may have thought it was care.
But neither one was the thief
Of his raven color of hair.
Editor 1 Interpretation
They Were Welcome To Their Belief: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Robert Frost is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated poets of the modern era. His works have continued to inspire generations of readers and writers, and his unique style has earned him a permanent place in the canon of American literature. Among his most notable pieces is the poem, "They Were Welcome To Their Belief." This poem, published in 1936, is a classic example of Frost's mastery of the craft of poetry. In this literary criticism and interpretation of "They Were Welcome To Their Belief," we will delve into the themes, symbols, and literary devices that make this poem a masterpiece.
Overview of the Poem
"They Were Welcome To Their Belief" is a poem that seems to be rooted in a particular moment in history. It is a response to the growing conflict between science and religion that characterized the early twentieth century. During this time, there was a growing sense of skepticism about traditional religious beliefs, as scientific discoveries and advancements challenged long-held beliefs about the nature of the universe.
Frost's poem seems to be a reflection of this cultural moment. It tells the story of a group of people who come together to tear down an old church. The narrator of the poem, who is not identified, watches this scene unfold and reflects on the significance of what he sees. Throughout the poem, there is a tension between those who believe in the church and those who do not, and the poem ultimately ends with a sense of ambiguity about what it all means.
At its core, "They Were Welcome To Their Belief" is a poem about belief, skepticism, and the struggle to reconcile the two. Throughout the poem, we see characters who are deeply rooted in their beliefs, and others who are skeptical, even cynical, about those beliefs. The poem raises important questions about the nature of belief, and what happens when those beliefs are challenged.
One of the key themes of the poem is the conflict between science and religion. This conflict is represented by the group of people who are tearing down the church. They are presented as rational, scientific people, who see no value in the church or its teachings. In contrast, those who believe in the church are presented as irrational, superstitious, and ultimately misguided.
Another important theme of the poem is the nature of tradition. Throughout the poem, there is a sense that the church is an old, outdated tradition that no longer serves a purpose. The people who are tearing it down see it as a relic of the past, something that needs to be discarded in order to make way for progress. This raises important questions about the value of tradition, and whether it is something that should be preserved or discarded.
Symbols and Imagery
As with many of Frost's poems, "They Were Welcome To Their Belief" is rich with symbols and imagery. One of the most striking images in the poem is the church itself. The church is presented as an old, crumbling building, a relic of a bygone era. This image is symbolic of the old traditions and beliefs that were being challenged during this time of social and cultural upheaval.
Another important symbol in the poem is the group of people who are tearing down the church. They represent the forces of progress and rationality, and their actions symbolize the rejection of old traditions in favor of new ideas and ways of thinking.
Finally, the narrator of the poem is also an important symbol. Although he is not identified, he represents the voice of reason and moderation in the poem. He is a detached observer who is not aligned with either side of the conflict, and his observations provide a sense of balance and perspective to the poem.
Frost was a master of literary devices, and "They Were Welcome To Their Belief" is no exception. One of the most notable devices used in the poem is irony. Throughout the poem, there is a sense of irony in the actions of the characters. The group of people who are tearing down the church are presented as rational and scientific, but their actions are ultimately destructive and irrational. Similarly, those who believe in the church are presented as irrational and superstitious, but their beliefs are ultimately more durable and enduring than the scientific skepticism of their opponents.
Another important literary device in the poem is imagery. As noted above, the church itself is an important image in the poem, as are the characters who are tearing it down. The use of these images helps to create a sense of place and atmosphere in the poem, and underscores the central conflict between tradition and progress.
Finally, the poem makes use of repetition and rhyme to create a sense of rhythm and structure. The repeated use of the phrase "they were welcome to their belief" creates a sense of unity and consistency in the poem, while the rhyme scheme (ABCB) helps to create a sense of balance and harmony.
"They Were Welcome To Their Belief" is a poem that is both timeless and timely. It speaks to the conflicts and struggles of its own time, but it also has a universality that speaks to readers in any age. Through its use of imagery, symbolism, and literary devices, the poem explores important themes about tradition, belief, and progress, and raises important questions about the nature of human experience. It is a testament to Frost's mastery of the craft of poetry, and a reminder of the enduring power of literature to connect us to the past, the present, and the future.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is a form of art that has the power to evoke emotions, stir up thoughts, and inspire change. Robert Frost, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, was a master at using his words to create vivid images and convey complex ideas. In his poem "They Were Welcome To Their Belief," Frost explores the theme of religious tolerance and the importance of respecting others' beliefs.
The poem begins with a description of a group of people who are on their way to church. Frost writes, "As I came to the edge of the woods, / Thrush music -- hark! / Now if it was dusk outside, / Inside it was dark." The imagery here is powerful, as it creates a sense of contrast between the light and darkness. The thrush music represents the beauty and joy of nature, while the darkness inside the woods symbolizes the unknown and the mysterious.
As the poem progresses, Frost introduces the idea of religious diversity. He writes, "Too many fall from great and good / For you to doubt the likelihood. / Die early and avoid the fate. / Or if predestined to die late, / Make up your mind to die in state." Here, Frost is suggesting that there are many different paths to salvation, and that people should not judge others based on their beliefs. He is also warning that those who are too rigid in their beliefs may suffer a negative fate.
The poem then takes a turn, as Frost introduces a group of people who are not going to church. He writes, "And if they thought it wrong, / They were all welcome to their thought. / A prayerful duty seemed so clear / To them, we could not call it queer." Here, Frost is highlighting the importance of respecting others' beliefs, even if they are different from our own. He is also suggesting that there is no one right way to worship, and that people should be free to follow their own path.
The final stanza of the poem is particularly powerful. Frost writes, "Theirs was no stay-at-home- / Travelling from house to house like birds / Hurrying away when looked at. / Farther and farther winging inward / To the sheltered core where they were bred." Here, Frost is suggesting that those who are truly committed to their beliefs are not afraid to venture out into the world and share their message. He is also suggesting that those who are secure in their beliefs are not threatened by others who believe differently.
In conclusion, "They Were Welcome To Their Belief" is a powerful poem that explores the theme of religious tolerance. Frost uses vivid imagery and complex ideas to convey his message, and his words are just as relevant today as they were when he wrote them. The poem is a reminder that we should respect others' beliefs, even if they are different from our own, and that there is no one right way to worship. It is a call to embrace diversity and to celebrate the beauty of the human spirit.
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