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How does Robert Frost's poem 'Fire and Ice' reflect the Modern period?

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anjalikumud | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 12, 2012 at 1:10 PM via web

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How does Robert Frost's poem 'Fire and Ice' reflect the Modern period?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that one way in which Frost's poem can be seen as reflective of the Modern period is how Frost himself believes that destruction is evident in both expressions of emotion.  "Fire" in terms of intensity of emotion or passion and "ice" in terms of emotional frigidity both contain elements that can bring about destruction of life forces.  This is Modernist in its scope as it rejects traditional notions of thought and embraces a new conception in which despair and pain are the only absolutes.  Like much in the Modernist form of thought, Frost rejects transcendence as being able to enter into this equation and supplant the realities of destruction intrinsic in the emotional display of "fire" and "ice."  At the same time, Frost is able to construct a reality in which the world will end, despite all of the betterment of human consciousness through scientific and rational analysis.  Frost is able to make clear the idea that both polarities of human expression and their destructive capacities will do much to destroy that which has been created.  Escape from this predicament is almost seen as an exercise in futility, echoing the tendency of the Modernists in scope.  There is an alienation present in the narration of the poem, suggesting a lack of exit from this predicament.  This mode of alienation and fragmentation is also another element of Modern thought present in Frost's poem.

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