9 October 2018
Hidden Layers in Poetry
Poems can be anything its author wants, from writing about nature’s beauty to an ironic tale that will last a lifetime. Robert Frost, an American-known poet, uses universal themes and ironic messages that are hidden in his writing to get those who read his poems to think and search for the true meanings behind his poetry. In the poem Fire and Ice, it appears that Frost is writing about the world ending, however, finding subtle hints in the poem, is more about the self-destruction of one’s self when it comes to emotions.
Emotions are what makes it able to understand others, either through body language or the tone of voice when a person speaks. The ability to understand when someone wants to engage, to express himself or herself through joy or sadness, or to be left to himself or herself is what make the society rich. Although, there are citizens that are not able to pick up on the underlying emotions or not able to comprehend why some reacts negatively when they express their emotions. The poem Fire and Ice could actually be about the ending of the world. Frost’s ability to put an emotional outtake underneath the layer of the poem with a few words is outstanding. At the beginning of his poem, nothing is given away in the spectacle of it. It shows in the text when he wrote about how “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice” (Frost). Many people would think that it is about the world ending. On the other hand, when using the symbolism for fire, it can be emotionally represented as hatred or heated love/desire for a thing or person, while ice is also an emotional symbol for coldness and/or the absence of love/desire. People tend to view those negative emotions akin to destruction. Anger can be compared to the urge of wanting to harm or violently throw an object to shatter, the wreckage of one’s property in order to gain satisfaction from the emotional impulse. Coldness can be used to destroy any imitate or familiar bonds with one another in order to separate any feelings they had. Both emotions can be dangerous when others decided to use it as a weapon for their intended target, thus causing destruction. Lawrence Thompson acknowledge that “these two extremes are made so to encompass life s to be a gathering up of all that may exist between them; all that may be swept away by them” (qtd. in Serio).
From the third line of the poem “from what I’ve tasted of desire” (Frost), he could be talking about the intimacy of a relationship and the desire to be with a significant other, including his own. Being in a relationship can be a new experience for those when it comes approaching new emotions like lust, desire, or infatuation that people cannot get from their close relatives. The desire to be in an intimate relationship can be different from one person to another, it could be a slow but beautiful one or very heated with only lust as the main emotion for being in the relationship in the first place. A relationship that only uses lust and desire to satisfy those two needs is not a functional relationship due to not wanting to connect and learn about each other, and in turn will be the downfall of the said relationship. Frost respects those who are able to continue a relationship even though it is emotionally destructive to the two lovers, which could be the reason why he wrote: “I hold with those who favored fire” (Frost). He understands, even when he simply expresses his opinion (Explanation of Fire and Ice), that within a particular relationship there will be trials that will cause disagreements and situations, and moments of euphoria and happiness. Some will love a person, even when the significant other does not, and that there are plenty of people who, whether they wanted to or not, play with fire.
The last few lines are about how ice is just as dangerous and destructive as the emotion; hate and both are great at doing terrible deeds. Hate is similar to anger but with a different outcome, is more or less an emotion a person lets fester deep within himself or herself who cannot get rid of it as easily as anger. This emotion causes some to do unimaginable things, even though others knew them to be nice and caring. It can and will make numerous people unfeeling and hostile to the target of their ire, even if the target unintentionally did anything to give them a reason. Hate can last longer than anger and, if an individual lets it, tends to ruin their lives because they let the emotion control them. Ice, once again, emotionally represents the lack of love or emotion for anything, in particular, it also expressed cold-heartiness and frigidity. It is the same as hatred despite both being the opposite of each other, both can be the downfall of a personal life if they allowed the emotion to continue its course. By the end of Frost poem “both emotions and condition are potentially violent and sufficient to destroy the world” (Explanation of Fire and Ice).
Multiple psychologists have been looking into it, arguing that the poem Fire and Ice is about how the world would end, or how it is more about relationships. One example is how one had viewed it as Dante’s Inferno (Serio). The interesting thing is that people are finding many different meanings and possibilities in the poetry, proving how complex Fire and Ice is, including that the meaning Robert Frost given is universal and can be anything if having enough understanding to delve upon it.
“Explanation of: ‘Fire and Ice’ by Robert Frost.” LitFinder Contemporary Collection, Gale, 2007.
LitFinder,http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.rose.edu/apps/doc/LTF0000000361CE/LITF?u=odl_rosesc&sid=LITF&xid=ec57a941. Accessed 17 Sept. 2018.
Serio, John N. “On Fire and Ice.” On “Spring and