'The Soldier' by Robert Frost
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He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled,
That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust,
But still lies pointed as it ploughed the dust.
If we who sight along it round the world,
See nothing worthy to have been its mark,
It is because like men we look too near,
Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,
Our missiles always make too short an arc.
They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect
The curve of earth, and striking, break their own;
They make us cringe for metal-point on stone.
But this we know, the obstacle that checked
And tripped the body, shot the spirit on
Further than target ever showed or shone.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"The Soldier" by Robert Frost: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Are you a fan of poetry that explores the human condition and speaks to the heart of what it means to be human? Do you appreciate the beauty of language and the power it has to evoke strong emotions? If so, then you will no doubt be moved by Robert Frost's "The Soldier."
One of Frost's most famous poems, "The Soldier" speaks to the universal experience of war and the sacrifices made by those who fight for their country. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes and literary devices used in this powerful poem, and consider what it tells us about the human experience.
The Soldier: An Overview
"The Soldier" is a sonnet, a 14-line poem with a strict rhyme scheme and meter. It was first published in 1914, just before the outbreak of World War I, and is widely seen as a response to the patriotic fervor that swept through England and other countries at the start of the war. The poem's speaker is a soldier who is reflecting on the possibility of his own death in battle, and the legacy he will leave behind.
Let's take a closer look at the themes and literary devices used in "The Soldier."
Themes in "The Soldier"
One of the most powerful themes in "The Soldier" is sacrifice. The speaker of the poem is a soldier who is prepared to lay down his life for his country, and who sees this sacrifice as a noble and honorable act. He speaks of being "a part of England yet," and suggests that his death will not be in vain, but will contribute to the greater good of his country.
Another important theme in "The Soldier" is the idea of legacy. The speaker is aware that he may not return from the battlefield, and is reflecting on what he will leave behind. He sees himself as part of a larger whole, and suggests that his death will be a small price to pay for the preservation of his country's traditions and values.
Finally, "The Soldier" is a deeply patriotic poem, and speaks to the importance of national identity and pride. The speaker is proud to be a part of England, and sees his sacrifice as a way of upholding the country's values and traditions. The poem reflects the sense of national pride that was so prevalent in the early years of World War I, and the belief that the war was a necessary and just cause.
Literary Devices in "The Soldier"
In addition to its themes, "The Soldier" makes use of a number of literary devices to convey its meaning and evoke powerful emotions in the reader. Let's take a look at some of these devices more closely.
Rhyme Scheme and Meter
"The Soldier" is a sonnet, which means it has a strict rhyme scheme and meter. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, which means that the first and third lines of each quatrain rhyme, as do the second and fourth lines. The final couplet also rhymes. The meter is iambic pentameter, which means that each line has ten syllables with a stress pattern of unstressed/stressed.
This strict form gives the poem a sense of order and structure, which is fitting given its themes of sacrifice and duty. The regularity of the rhyme and meter also helps to emphasize certain words and phrases, making them stand out more clearly.
Frost makes use of vivid imagery throughout "The Soldier" to evoke powerful emotions in the reader. For example, he describes the soldier's death as a "richer dust concealed," suggesting that his sacrifice will be a valuable contribution to the country's legacy.
Frost also uses natural imagery to suggest the soldier's connection to England and its landscape. He describes the soldier's heart as "a pulse in the eternal mind," suggesting that his love for England is a fundamental part of his being. The final couplet, which describes the soldier as "in hearts at peace, under an English heaven," evokes a sense of calm and serenity that is in contrast to the chaos and violence of war.
In addition to imagery, Frost also makes use of symbolism to convey his message in "The Soldier." For example, the soldier's heart is described as "a pulse in the eternal mind," suggesting that his love for England is a fundamental part of his being. The soldier's death is also described as a "cross" that marks the spot where he fell, evoking the Christian symbolism of sacrifice and redemption.
So what does "The Soldier" tell us about the human experience, and what can we learn from it? At its core, the poem speaks to the universal experience of war and the sacrifices made by soldiers who fight for their country. It reminds us that war is not just about strategy and tactics, but about the human cost of conflict.
The poem also speaks to the importance of sacrifice, duty, and national pride. The soldier in the poem sees his sacrifice as a way of upholding his country's values and traditions, and is prepared to lay down his life for the greater good. This is a powerful reminder of the importance of putting something greater than ourselves first, and of the sacrifices that individuals may be called upon to make in service of their country or community.
Finally, "The Soldier" is a reminder of the power of language and poetry to evoke strong emotions and convey deep truths about the human experience. Frost's use of imagery, symbolism, and a strict form combine to create a poem that is deeply moving and evocative, and that speaks to the heart of what it means to be human.
In conclusion, "The Soldier" is a powerful and moving poem that speaks to the universal experience of war, sacrifice, and national pride. Frost's use of imagery, symbolism, and a strict form combine to create a work of art that is both beautiful and deeply meaningful. If you have not yet read "The Soldier," I highly recommend that you do so, and allow yourself to be moved by its language and message.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Soldier: An Analysis of Robert Frost's Classic Poem
Robert Frost is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, and his works continue to captivate readers with their timeless themes and beautiful imagery. One of his most famous poems, "The Soldier," is a powerful meditation on the nature of war and the sacrifices that soldiers make for their country. In this essay, we will explore the meaning and significance of this classic poem, and examine how Frost uses language and imagery to convey his message.
The poem begins with a simple and direct statement: "He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled." This opening line immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it establishes the soldier as a symbol of strength and courage, but also of vulnerability and mortality. The image of the "fallen lance" suggests a weapon that has been used in battle, but is now useless and discarded. This image is reinforced by the use of the word "hurled," which suggests violence and force.
The second line of the poem, "That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust," further emphasizes the soldier's vulnerability and the fleeting nature of his existence. The soldier is no longer able to defend himself, and his weapon is now subject to the elements of nature. The use of the word "unlifted" also suggests that the soldier has been abandoned or forgotten, left to decay on the battlefield.
In the third line of the poem, Frost introduces the idea of the soldier's sacrifice: "But still lies pointed as it plowed the dust." Here, the image of the "pointed" lance suggests that the soldier's sacrifice has not been in vain, and that his actions have left a lasting impact on the world. The use of the word "plowed" also suggests that the soldier's sacrifice has helped to shape the course of history, like a farmer plowing a field.
The fourth line of the poem, "If we who sight along it round the world," introduces the idea that the soldier's sacrifice is not just limited to his immediate surroundings, but has a global impact. The use of the word "sight" suggests that the soldier's sacrifice has been witnessed by people all over the world, and that his actions have inspired others to take up the cause of freedom and justice.
The fifth and sixth lines of the poem, "See nothing worthy to have been its mark, / It is because like men we look too near," suggest that the true significance of the soldier's sacrifice may not be immediately apparent to those who are too close to the situation. The use of the word "mark" suggests that the soldier's sacrifice was intended to achieve a specific goal, but that this goal may not be immediately obvious to those who are too close to the situation. The use of the word "men" also suggests that human beings are often too focused on their own immediate concerns to see the bigger picture.
The seventh and eighth lines of the poem, "We have forgot the hills our fathers hid, / And rung from the earth her blasphemies anew," suggest that the soldier's sacrifice is not just a matter of military victory, but also of moral and spiritual renewal. The use of the word "hills" suggests a connection to the land and to the traditions of the past, while the use of the word "blasphemies" suggests a departure from these traditions and a loss of moral values.
The final two lines of the poem, "And stand aloof and know not what we have done, / Or shrug our shoulders at the thought of what we have lost," suggest that the true significance of the soldier's sacrifice may be lost on future generations. The use of the phrase "stand aloof" suggests a sense of detachment and indifference, while the use of the phrase "shrug our shoulders" suggests a lack of concern or understanding. The poem ends on a note of ambiguity and uncertainty, leaving the reader to ponder the true meaning and significance of the soldier's sacrifice.
In conclusion, "The Soldier" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the nature of war, sacrifice, and human frailty. Through his use of language and imagery, Robert Frost creates a vivid and compelling portrait of the soldier as a symbol of strength, courage, and vulnerability. The poem challenges us to consider the true meaning and significance of the sacrifices that soldiers make for their country, and to reflect on the moral and spiritual implications of war. As we continue to grapple with the challenges of our own time, "The Soldier" remains a timeless and relevant meditation on the human condition.
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