The Runaway : by Robert Frost || Summary and Analysis

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The Runaway

Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
We stopped by a mountain pasture to say 'Whose colt?'
A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head
And snorted at us. And then he had to bolt.
We heard the miniature thunder where he fled,
And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and grey,
Like a shadow against the curtain of falling flakes.
'I think the little fellow's afraid of the snow.
He isn't winter-broken. It isn't play
With the little fellow at all. He's running away.
I doubt if even his mother could tell him, 'Sakes,
It's only weather'. He'd think she didn't know !
Where is his mother? He can't be out alone.'
And now he comes again with a clatter of stone
And mounts the wall again with whited eyes
And all his tail that isn't hair up straight.
He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies.
'Whoever it is that leaves him out so late,
When other creatures have gone to stall and bin,
Ought to be told to come and take him in.'

Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall, We stopped by a mountain pasture to say 'Whose colt?' A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall, The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head And snorted at us. And then he had to bolt. We heard the miniature thunder where he fled, And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and grey, Like a shadow against the curtain of falling flakes.
The Runaway

Summary and Analysis

Summary:

      In the poem The Runaway by Robert Frost, narrates an incident when he and his companion were passing by a mountain pasture. Snow was beginning to fall. They spotted a frightened young colt, named Morgan. He had one front foot on the wall and the other curved inwards at his breast. He had intense feeling of fear of snow in his eyes. On seeing the poet and his companion, the colt quickly bent his head downwards making a sudden loud noise, to very much like a small thunder and quickly ran away from them. Soon his figure became dim and gray as he vanished into falling snow, appearing like faint indistinct shadow through the screen of snow.

      The poet empathizes with the frightened colt and has this feeling that the colt is neither frost bitten nor is running away in play, he is genuinely frightened of snow, because he is not experience such weather earlier. May be even his mother had not been able to convince him that the snow is not going to harm him and it is just a weather phenomenon.

      Here the poet, in a humorous veins comments that though vast differences may exist between man and other objects of nature, yet some similarity to occur. May be the Colt, like the youngman who consider their parents fools' takes his mother to be an ignorant fool and distrust her advice.

      The poet wonders where colt is mother would be at that time and looks around feeling that Colt's mother can not leave him alone and must be around somewhere. Suddenly the colt comes back, with his hooves making a clattering sounds on the stones. His eyes are wide open with fright and he starts mounting the wall again. Had the Colt had a tail, its hair would have stood at its end out of sheer fright. He bears and trembles convulsively, shrugging the snow flakes off his back as if they were flies.

      It is a pathetic to see that frightened and the forlorn sight of the colt. The poet feels that it was very irresponsive and cruel on the part of the owner to let the colt venture so late in such a harsh and cold weather. While all other creatures have taken shelter in their respective abode, the Colt has been left out alone, totally uncured for in the snow. The poet and his companion decides to look for its owner so that colt can return to its safe abode. The poet is shaken by the indifferent and unsympathetic attitude of the owner.

Critical Appreciation:

      Though the value of Frost's Treatment of Nature may be called in question, it is undeniable that his nature poetry gives evidence of his capacity for minute observation and accurate description. Robert Langbaun, who appreciates Frost's power to sender the objects of nature in poetry in vivid manner, points out that this treatment of nature is a sort of escapism and it takes the readers away from the centre of the preoccupation of the time. Isidor Schneider, who criticized Frost's poetry on other grounds, makes this significant remark on his descriptive power. "The descriptive power of Mr. Frost is to me the most wonderful thing in his poetry. A snowfall, a spring throw, a bending tree, a valley mist a brook, these are brought not to, but into experience of the reader". This description of the forlorn colt, wandering in the snow, in the "The Runaway" is so vivid that with the sight and the act, the emotional responses comes naturally. The three fuse together and the experience comes as whole to us. One remarkable thing about Frost 's treatment of nature if that he did not idealize or glorify them. His attitude towards them is realist, as in 'The Runaway'. I doubt if even his mother could tell him, "Snakes, it's only weather".

      It is true that many of the Frost's poems carry a moral, but the moral is usually presented either as an argument running through a descriptive or sensuous lyric or as part of a dramatic situation. He has a tendency to philosophize but is free from didacticism, sometimes merely presenting a picture, a mood, a narrative and leaving you to draw your own conclusions, never permitting himself more than the tender humorous sort of comment, As he said in "The Runaway".

      "Whoever it is that leaves him out so late, when other creatures have to stall and bin, Ought to be told to come and take him in". In this poem, Frost has presented the colt, the Object of Nature with an extraordinary delicacy of feeling and sensitiveness.

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