Question: Comment on the rural setting in the poems of Robert Frost. Rural setting in the poems of Robert Frost
Pastoralism is a term of literature that contrasts between simple and complicated life. Robert Frost (1874-1963) is a pastoral poet but he has not followed the conventions and traditions of pastoral poetry. He has invented his own methods of composing pastoral poetry and has been successful in doing so. As a result of his invention, he has become a pastoral and modern poet at the same time.
Frost’s pastoralism is not an escape from reality
Many readers may think that Frost’s pastoralism is an attempt to escape from the real world to the ideal world. He returns from city life to rural life to examine city life more deeply. Rural life is an artistic perspective for him from where he can analyze the complicated and problematic urban life. In his poems, Robert Frost contrasts human life and mechanical power by his unique pastoral setting.
Realistic pastoralism in Frost’s poetry
We find realistic pastoralism in Frost’s poetry. Pastoral elements are masterful or predominant there in his poems, but the readers should not be confused about them. We should know that though there is a prevalence of pastoral elements, Frost is realistic in his poetic vision and sensibility.
Frost’s vision depends on the pastoral setting
In literature, every poet has a personal vision such as in American poetry, Emily Dickinson’s poetic vision is dependent on death and Whitman has a poetic vision based on democracy. In British English poet, for example, Wordsworth’s vision depends on nature, likewise, Frost’s vision out and out depends on the pastoral setting.
Pastoralism connected with the romantic vision
Pastoralism is usually connected with romantic vision. The commonplace objects and scenery are idealized, glorified, and tinged with imagination. Though Frost has a strong passion for pastoralism, realism forms the basis of vision and art because his poetry is loaded with suggestivity. Frost’s romantic vision has made him classic in terms of forms and interpretation of life-based on realistic interests.
Frost is both pastoral and a modern poet
We cannot call Frost an outdated poet though we find a predominance of pastoral elements in Frost’s poetry. The modern elements are also predominant in his poetry. He shows a strong devotion and keen interest in rural life, but he also shows a great passion and interest in modern elements. His works include the nostalgia that is a pastoral pleasure. He also explores the dreadful aspects of man’s existence in the modern world. So, he is equally successful in treating pastoral as well as modern elements.
To conclude, Frost is a pastoral poet with a difference as he has adopted a pastoral setting only to differentiate between simplicity and complexity.