Reluctance : by Robert Frost || Analysis

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Reluctance

Out through the fields and the woods
 And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
 And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
 And lo, it is ended.
 
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
 Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
 And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
 When others are sleeping.
 
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
 No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
 The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
 But the feet question ‘Whither?’
 
Ah, when to the heart of man
 Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
 To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
 Of a love or a season?

Out through the fields and the woods  And over the walls I have wended; I have climbed the hills of view  And looked at the world, and descended; I have come by the highway home,  And lo, it is ended.
Reluctance

Introduction:

      This nature poem 'Reluctance' by Robert Frost from A Boy's Will is hinged with melancholy, ambivalence and ideological uncertainty. A natural scene gains a keen human emotion in a Frost poem. Delicate dissection of human emotions bring the very essence of the poem

Development of Thought:

      Frost describes the natural scene with the dead leaves lying huddled and still on the ground. The poet is full of desire "to seek" but has no idea which way to turn. The "end of a love or a season" is naturally associated with a tragic element. However, a man would feel traitorous to his heart it he gets carried along the drift of things and bows and accepts the situation - that is the theme of the poem as stated in the last stanza.

Critical Remarks:

      Ambiguity is central to the poem. Summer's passing is accepted, but under protest. Human relevance to the natural setting is clear with the introduction of 'love' along with 'season' in the last line. This casual introduction of the term saves the poem from becoming sentimental even though it makes use of conventional images. The poem's resolution is "reluctant" - one does not want to accept the passing of a season or the end of a love but there seems nothing for it except to yield gracefully to the inevitable. The poem "is the work of a consummate lyricist; in it, theme, metaphor, metre, rhyme, and structure are inseparable". There is the typical Frostian blending of aphorism and description as human complexities of desire and responsibility are contrasted with the detached simplicity of Nature.

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