Robert Frost – The Regional Poet





Robert Frost – The Regional Poet

Robert Frost’s work is especially universally appealing. Such universal themes as nature and humanity are explored in most of his poetry. The Road Not Taken, After Apple Picking, and Mending Wall are but a few examples of his work that transcends borders to appeal to every man who has walked the earth. Human nature, for instance, is well treated in After Apple Picking where Frost writes: “I am overtired, of the great harvest I myself desired.” Isolation, another universal theme, widely features in Frost’s work. He emphasizes man’s alienation and loneliness despite his being a socialized creature. In Frost’s works, man’s relationship with himself and his solitariness in dealing with his own fate is explored. “We keep the wall between us as we go,” he says in Mending Wall, “To each the boulders that have fallen to each.”

Yet despite the universality in his work, Frost is unapologetically regional and uses precisely this regionalism to expound on his universal themes. His regionalism helps explain why Frost is one of the leading poets of 20th Century America. Perhaps the most prominent feature of Frost’s poetry that claims its source in his region of New England is the treatment of nature. Indeed, nature is omnipresent in all of Frost’s poetry. It can be seen in the scent of the apples, in the yellow wood where two roads diverge, in leaves no step had trodden black, in the apple trees that will never get across and eat the cones under his neighbor’s pines, in the frozen swamp on a gray day, and in the sea at which the people along the sand look all day.

The New England countryside and pastoral way of life in which Frost spent a significant amount of his childhood and adulthood are evident in his work. The landscape presents Frost with a quiver of symbols with which to drive home the intended message. The Road Not Taken is one such poem. “And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” Here, we see Frost use the two roads to symbolize choice and the crossroads at which we often find ourselves when we have to make a decision. The leaves that no step had trodden black symbolize the less popular choice we may take, even though like the protagonist, we may look back with longing and perhaps wonder what would have become of us had we taken the other road.

Regionalism can also be seen in Frost’s treatment of the theme of nature in The Wood Pile. The protagonist is again “out walking”, seemingly with no particular place to go, when again he is faced with a decision to make: to turn back or go on farther. The walk features a presentation of the New England countryside – tall slim trees, a small bird, a pile of wood, a frozen swamp – which he elegantly and effortlessly uses to relay his message. Here, Frost uses the scene to tell of fear, induced by the inscrutable, forbidding nature in which the poem is set. The tension is built by use of nature: the grey day, the bird’s apprehension that the protagonist is after a feather, the way he might have gone (but did not), and the smokeless burning of decay. In this way, Frost uses the pieces of the nature of his region to examine complex philosophical themes.

In addition to the theme of nature, regionalism can be seen in Frost’s work through culture. Frost’s New England is characteristically rural. It is no wonder that he is viewed as the quintessential Yankee farmer-poet due to the reference made to farm life in a large volume of his work. After Apple Picking for instance depicts a harvest scene in an apple farm. Frost pays homage to farm-life through the protagonist’s outstanding understanding of the activity: “There were ten thousand fruit to touch, cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall. For all that struck the earth, no matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, went surely to the cider-apple heap as of no worth.” This can also be seen in Mending Wall where every spring, the wall is in need of mending though the cause of its disrepair remains a mystery to the protagonist. The practice of setting up a wall between neighbors, even here, where as the protagonist points out, “there are no cows,” is characteristically pastoral. So is the neighbor’s traditional response: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Finally, regionalism can be seen in Frost’s work through his use of language. His work is characteristically American, seen through his command of the country’s colloquial speech of the time. Frost uses the language spoken at the time, making his poetry quite modern. The first stanza of Neither Out Far Nor In Deep for instance shows this: “The people along the sand all turn and look one way. They turn their back on the land. They look at the sea all day.” The stanza follows the natural inflections and rhythms of spoken language as opposed to written language. His work is at the crossroads of 19th and 20th Century styles both in its tempered regard of such traditional forms as rhyme, and its use of such modernism features as idiomatic language. Yet Frost stands out in his exceptional use of American colloquialism, bringing both periods together in a genius, deceptively down-to-earth manner.

This regionalism sets Frost apart from his contemporaries who were increasingly abandoning traditional forms and adopting modernism in their work. His use of nature, the New England countryside, pastoral life and the American colloquial speech of his time make Frost’s some of the most accessible and widely read works of 20th Century America. Indeed, it his blending of both the preceding and current periods – not fully shunning or fully adopting one over the other – that makes Frost stand out among his contemporaries: Traditional meters are set against the natural inflections and rhythms of speech, and poetic diction, which can be rather artificial, is avoided. While this cannot have been easy to achieve, Frost does it seemingly effortlessly, making his poetry yet more appealing.

These features of regionalism, which can be seen in all his works, come together in subject, technique and style to present a volume of works that will remain forever etched in American history as some of the most popular and most accessible. It seems that in this way, Frost manages to keep the wall of accessibility to poetry down even when others may seem to insist that good fences make good neighbors.


Calculate your order
275 words
Total price: $0.00

Top-quality papers guaranteed


100% original papers

We sell only unique pieces of writing completed according to your demands.


Confidential service

We use security encryption to keep your personal data protected.


Money-back guarantee

We can give your money back if something goes wrong with your order.

Enjoy the free features we offer to everyone

  1. Title page

    Get a free title page formatted according to the specifics of your particular style.

  2. Custom formatting

    Request us to use APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, or any other style for your essay.

  3. Bibliography page

    Don’t pay extra for a list of references that perfectly fits your academic needs.

  4. 24/7 support assistance

    Ask us a question anytime you need to—we don’t charge extra for supporting you!

Calculate how much your essay costs

Type of paper
Academic level
550 words

How to place an order

  • Choose the number of pages, your academic level, and deadline
  • Push the orange button
  • Give instructions for your paper
  • Pay with PayPal or a credit card
  • Track the progress of your order
  • Approve and enjoy your custom paper

Ask experts to write you a cheap essay of excellent quality

Place an order