The Most Of It : by Robert Frost || Summary and Analysis

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The Most Of It

He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the voice in answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
Some morning from the boulder-broken beach
He would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back in copy speech,
But counter-love, original response.
And nothing ever came of what he cried
Unless it was the embodiment that crashed
In the cliff's talus on the other side,
And then in the far distant water splashed,
But after a time allowed for it to swim,
Instead of proving human when it neared
And someone else additional to him,
As a great buck it powerfully appeared,
Pushing the crumpled water up ahead,
And landed pouring like a waterfall,
And stumbled through the rocks with horny tread,
And forced the underbrush—and that was all.

He thought he kept the universe alone; For all the voice in answer he could wake Was but the mocking echo of his own From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
The Most Of It

Summary and Analysis

Introduction:

      The Most of It is one of the best poems in the volume A Witness Tree. This is one of those poems, where Frost is able to convey to us very effectively the fact that, no matter how hard man tries to link himself up with the universe round him, man is essentially lonely and inhabits a universe that is not only strange, indifferent, but hostile. The Most of It is a momentary insight into the vast and brute indifference of nature.

Summary:

      The poem has, for its centre, a protagonist who seems to have deliberately cultivated solitude. Like Frost, he too could hear only the echo of his own voice, but very fondly indeed he longed fora personal reply from nature. When the reply did come it was not human. One morning he saw and heard a splash on the other side of the lake and very hopefully saw that something was moving towards him, but

Instead of proving human when it neared
Anil someone else additional to him.
As a great buck it powerfully appeared,
Pushing the crumpled water up ahead.
And landed pouring like a waterfall,
And stumbled through the rocks with horny tread,
And forced the underbrush and that was all.

      Frost's buck definitely has the exquisitely terrifying grandeur of the monster in Yeats's The Second Coming. In fact it has an edge over the monster; it has the advantage of greater reality. The style is a combination of descriptive precision, loaded with meaning and shunning away of all decoration, inaptitude and irrelevancies. "The poem gives one some idea of how great a poet Frost might conceivably have been had he been willing to use his mind instead of letting it wither.

Critical Appreciation:

      The Most of It impresses us. In many poems, Frost is sentimental in his attitude towards Nature but in this poem he is stubbornly truthful. If the universe never gives us a black or white answer but only black-and-white answer, that is not an answer at all. Its inhuman not-answer is not what we human beings could have thought of or wished for.

      In this poem, the poet shows an insight into his predicament but the glimmer is only momentary. This moment does not lead him to further realization. He begins and ends there. He does not even sustain it. He just dwindles. But whatever I have stated above is only partial truth. The lyric also shows that Frost has a strange duality in his attitude towards nature. While it shows man's isolation and littleness in a brute, insensate universe, it also reasserts man's superiority over matter.

Conclusion:

      The Most of It is a complex poem, presenting in a complex manner, an analysis of the complex relationship between man and nature.

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