Here are some ideas for starters:
Your paper could include any of the the following material:
1) Biographical info. Write
about his life, the connections between his life and poetry, his
place in the 19th-20th century related to other poets. If you
want to compare him to another poet, we suggest E. A. Robinson,
T. S. Eliot or Carl Sandburg.
2) Frost's Style. Frost said style is how the poet takes himself. The tone of the poem is a good clue. Style is "how" the poem is written. Identify the organization/form/structure of the poem - sonnet, ode, elegy, idyll, lyric. Elaborate this with meter, rhyme scheme, and rhythm devices that intensify meaning. Identify the use of figurative language, metaphor, and poetical devices: alliteration, assonance, consonance, antithesis. Identify symbols and images. Frost used traditional English meters and form, but introduced conversational language in his poetry. Frost's poem "Storm Fear" is a virtual catalog of these elements, as well as "Nothing Gold Can Stay" and "Two Tramps in Mudtime."
Reginald Cook, a noted Frost scholar says, "Frost's art consists in coordinating the world of natural phenomena and the world of human beings - the two chief sources of his material - fusing the fact of nature with the image in the mind. In a poem, Frost starts with a feeling of the thing seen, and the eye - inner or outer - is always on the object. His basic method of organization is a logical flow of ideas in a series of events as they occur. ..". He usually starts with an observation in nature, mulls it around and then connects it to some human concern. Frost rarely draws a conclusion or makes a judgment.
If you are at a total loss as to the meaning of a poem, you can always analyze form, rhyme, meter, and poetic devices.
4) Literary Criticism Use critical analysis e.g. Reginald Cook, John Lynen or Rueben Brower. Use your library - there is very little critical analysis on line as it is all protected by copyright. Our notes, in some cases, contain snippets of criticism, fully credited. See our Reading List
5) The use of criticism will greatly illuminate Frost's poetry. However, most of the 300 poems he wrote are not well analyzed. It is better to write in-depth on 1 or 2 of the famous pieces, that is backed up with a scholarly opinion. You can use other poems, as long as you don't need in depth analysis. Students often want to "get off the beaten path" only to find there is no research available and they don't know how to analyze the poem. The following poems will produce good, substantial material for a paper.
Acquainted with the Night
Fire and Ice
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Once by the Pacific
The Road Not Taken
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Some of these poems go well in a comparison - some don't. Stopping by Woods, Acquainted/Night and Desert Places feed into the "dark side" - a progression of isolation/loneliness. Birches, Mending Wall and NGCS use beautiful nature imagery to illustrate 3 different themes. After Apple-Picking and Design are religious. Stopping by Woods and The Road Not Taken are about making choices.
Often, you will find that the critics
are not consistent in their opinions, or that they disagree. That
is to be expected. Frost was often asked to explain his poems.
His reply was always: "I have written my poem as well as
I possibly could and now you want me to restate it, using inferior
language?" Now, everyone plays the game of what the poem
is really about. A poem will truly reveal itself to the reader
over a period of time. But for now, we understand there is an
assignment due and you must write a paper. Our note files address
6. Use the on line Poetic Glossary of Terms to look up all those confusing definitions.
Back to the Tutorial
"Home," he mocked gently. "Yes, what else but home?" It all depends of what you mean by home.