Range-Finding : by Robert Frost || Analysis

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Range-Finding

The battle rent a cobweb diamond-strung
And cut a flower beside a ground bird's nest
Before it stained a single human breast.
The stricken flower bent double and so hung.
And still the bird revisited her young.
A butterfly its fall had dispossessed
A moment sought in air his flower of rest,
Then lightly stooped to it and fluttering clung.

On the bare upland pasture there had spread
O'ernight 'twixt mullein stalks a wheel of thread
And straining cables wet with silver dew.
A sudden passing bullet shook it dry.
The indwelling spider ran to greet the fly,
But finding nothing, sullenly withdrew.

The battle rent a cobweb diamond-strung And cut a flower beside a ground bird's nest Before it stained a single human breast. The stricken flower bent double and so hung. And still the bird revisited her young. A butterfly its fall had dispossessed A moment sought in air his flower of rest, Then lightly stooped to it and fluttering clung.
Range-Finding

Analysis

Introduction:

      Range-Finding is a descriptive poem of Robert Frost from Mountain Interval dealing with two distinct worlds - the battle-field signifying human struggle, and the Nature-world of the bird, the butterfly and the spider. This sonnet evokes human concern with the sphere of various creature in the natural world.

Development of Thought:

      The battle in the poem, before it killed any soldier, "cut a flower beside a ground bird's nest." But the bird continued to fly in and out with food. A butterfly came back and clung flutteringly to the cut flower. Beside them a spider web wet with dew was shaken dry by a sudden passing bullet. The spider "ran to greet the fly" but finding nothing sullenly withdrew. The creatures of the field went about undisturbed. The spider's behaviour is a startling comment on the human action. If it is unaware of the significance of the bullet - that it will soon be crushed under the paraphernalia of human warfare - it is all for the best; there is no escape. Within its own small world, it is, however, perfectly efficient - as are the ground bird and the butterfly.

Critical Remarks:

      Nature's world is made to comment on the human world in the poem, and the natural world comes out superior - pure, simple, innocent. But it is also below the human world. Its occupants cannot fathom the meaning of man's bullet. They are incapable of mans malice, his suffering, his cruelty and his heroism.

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