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What is the main theme of the poem "The Silken Tent"?

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trishareg | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 23, 2009 at 12:26 PM via web

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What is the main theme of the poem "The Silken Tent"?

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

Posted July 23, 2009 at 9:32 PM (Answer #1)

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Naturally, with any poem, different interpretations and reads can be present.  I think that the main theme of Frost's "The Silken Tent" is that there is a strength and individuality within the soul of women.  Traditionally poetic conceptions of women depict them in different lights, but Frost's theme emphasizes the austerity and distinctively independent quality within women. 

He does this in several ways.  In the opening line, the woman is personified as "a silken tent" in the middle of a field.  The "central cedar pole" is a deliberate reference to a type of wood that distinguishes itself from all others, having both natural and religious significance.  The "sureness of the soul" reflects confidence and clarity in voice and vision. 

The setting of the poem casts the tent alone in the center of a field, indicating that the confidence and austerity of a woman's character stands out.  The repeated idea, or theme, in this poem is a testimony to the independent and strong spirit of women.

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