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This may be hard for some to grasp, as Frost is world renowned for his alleged nature theme.Contrary to popular opinion, nature is not Frost’s central theme in his poetry; it is the contrast between man and nature as well as the conflicts that arise between the two entities.Instead, he focuses on the dramatic struggles that occur within the natural world, such as the conflict of the changing of seasons (as in "After Apple-Picking") and the destructive side of nature (as in "Once by the Pacific").
Frost usually starts with an observation in nature, contemplates it and then connects it to some psychological concern (quoted in Thompson). Gerber, Phillip L., Robert Frost Revised Edition, ed. Lynen, John F., The Pastoral Art of Robert Frost New Haven, Yale University Press, 1960. Robert Frost; Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays 1st Edition, New York, The Library of America, 1995.
According to Thompson, “His poetic impulse starts with some psychological concern and finds its way to a material embodiment which usually includes a natural scene” (quoted in Thompson). Lynen, “Frost sees in nature a symbol of man’s relation to the world. From that last statement, one can recognize that indeed Robert Frost’s nature poetry is more than blooming flowers and snowy nights; obviously there is an underlying psychological meaning in most of his poems. Modern Critical Views; Robert Frost First Edition, New York et al, Chelsea House Pub., 1986.
This makes sense as Frost did consider himself to be a shepherd.
Frost uses nature as an image that he wants us to see or a metaphor that he wants us to relate to on a psychological level. His poetry is in the main psychologically oriented with emphasis on specific recurring themes, which include, but are not limited to, loneliness, retreat, spirituality, darkness, and death.
Interdisciplinary in nature, this thesis uses evidence from psychological experiments to emphasise the cognitive fundamentals which underpin those Hardy and Frost poems remembered as aesthetic or cultural artefacts.
Four core chapters explore issues of expectation, recognition, voice and identity, showing the meeting points for Hardyean and Frostian memory and offering new readings which connect these canonical figures.
Informed by the insights of scholarly authorities including Lionel Trilling and Randall Jarrell, critics since the mid-twentieth century have been wont to find in the corpus of Robert Frost a profound pessimism, Gothicism, and scepticism.
This seems to go against the grain of Frost s reputation as one of the most popular and revered of American poets.
Using archival material and the respective letters of Hardy and Frost alongside the poems allows this project to offer a thorough reading of a topic close to both poets’ hearts.
Beyond a study of two specific poets, this thesis also reveals why and how poetry might be sought after as a valuable mnemonic device and sheds new light on the act of reading poetry.