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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

10. Rhythms
in Poetry

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•  Using the Video
•  Authors
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•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities

Robert Frost - Author Questions

Back Back to Robert Frost Activities
  1. Comprehension: In "Mowing," Frost uses a form of whisper four times, but we never find out the secret. What is the effect of withholding the mystery from the reader? Does the narrator learn something we don't? What poetic form does Frost use? Why?

  2. Comprehension: What does the wall symbolize in "Mending Wall"? Why does the neighbor repeat the cliché "Good fences make good neighbors," and how does the narrator interpret this? What season is it? Why do they have to repair the wall?

  3. Comprehension: In "After Apple-Picking" why does the narrator refer repeatedly to sleep? How does the word change throughout the poem? What are the connotations of the word at the beginning of the work? Do they change at the end? What is the tone of this poem? Compare this poem to "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

  4. Comprehension: In both "Birches" and "Out, Out-" Frost portrays a young boy. How do the portraits differ? What is the tone of each poem? What does he seem to say about youth in each poem? How is death figured in each work? What is the relationship between the Shakespearean title "Out, Out-" and the rest of the poem?

  5. Context: In comparison to that of the other poets in this unit, Frost's work seems strangely removed from the modern world, where world wars erupted and technology marched on rapidly. What kind of change does Frost write about? How does he reflect change in his poetry?

  6. Exploration: What does Frost have to say about the relationship between the land and its inhabitants in "The Gift Outright"? How does he portray history and American identity? How do his ideas about history and the land compare to those of other writers in the unit?

  7. Exploration: Compare Frost's use of traditional poetic forms to that of Claude McKay. What does each gain by using these forms?

  8. Exploration: Compare Frost's depiction of apple picking to the depictions of fruit picking in the prose of Steinbeck, Carlos Bulosan, and Helena Maria Viramontes (all in Unit 12). What does fruit mean for each?

  9. Exploration: A spider serves as the central symbol in both Frost's poem "Design" and Jonathan Edwards's sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." What are the connotations of spiders? Why do spiders have particular resonance in a spiritual argument? How does the symbol function in each of these works?

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