Desert Places –Robert Frost— Snow falling and night falling fast, oh fast, In a field I looked into going past, A

Desert Places

–Robert Frost—

Snow falling and night falling fast, oh fast,

In a field I looked into going past,

And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,

But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it—it is theirs.

All animals are smothered in their lairs.

I am too absent-spirited to count;

The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is that loneliness

will be more lonely ere it will be less—

A blanker whiteness of benighted snow

With no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces

Between stars—on stars where no human race is.

I have it in me so much nearer home

To scare myself with my own desert places.

1. What is the tone and mood of this poem?

2. Once again we have the use of landscape as a comparison to human emotion. What environment is the speaker describing and to what emotion does he connect it?

3. How does this compare to the environment in which Ethan lives? What factors contribute to Ethan’s emotional landscape?

4. In the final stanza what does the speaker mean by “my own desert places”? How do they contrast to the physical places in the poem?

5. Do you think Ethan has his own desert places? Explain

Acquainted with the Night

–Robert Frost—

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in the rain—and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat.

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,

But not to lure me back or say good-by;

And further still at an unearthly height,

One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right,

I have been one acquainted with the night.

1. What is your immediate reaction to this poem?

2. What do stanza’s 3 and 4 suggest about the speaker’s immediate past?

3. Why might he be walking so far and so frequently?

4. What does the title mean?

5. What is nature’s role in his isolation?

6. What will his future be like?

7. Does he seem to accept his aloneness? Explain.

8. How do you handle being alone? Can one be alone without being lonely? Explain.

The Snow Man

–Wallace Stevens—

One must have a mind of winter

To regard the frost and the boughs

Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time

To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think

Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land

Full of the same wind

That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,

And, nothing himself beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

1. What images and emotions does this poem evoke? How is the winter landscape described?

2. Describe the tone and mood? How does the author feel about his subject? How do you feel when you read it?

3. According to this poem, how does the landscape affect a person? What does it say of the person who is unaffected?


–Christina Rossetti—

The hope I dreamed of was a dream,

Was but a dream; and now I wake,

Exceedingly comfortless, and worn, and old,

For a dream’s sake.

I hang my harp upon a tree,

A weeping willow in a lake;

I hang my silent harp there, wrung and snapped

For a dream’s sake.

Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;

My silent heart, lie still and break;

Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed

For a dream’s sake.

1. What has happened to the speaker? What is the emotional impact?

2. Reread the last stanza and the last lines. What does the speaker mean here?

3. What dreams did Ethan Frome have? What happened to those dreams? How has he been changed?