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What kind of symbolism is showed in "The Silken Tent" by Robert Frost?

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rimbayu | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 7, 2009 at 11:23 PM via web

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What kind of symbolism is showed in "The Silken Tent" by Robert Frost?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 8, 2009 at 12:19 PM (Answer #1)

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"The Silken Tent" uses a very detailed simile, or symbol, to describe how he feels about his loved one.  He compares her, using a simile, to a "silken tent" in the summer breeze.  Then, he expounds on this simile by listing all of the ways that she is like a silken tent.  She has a beautiful grace that "gently sways" and yet is strong and firm like a tent's "supporting central cedar pole."  Her strength (as the pole) is heavenly as it points "heavenword," which indicates that she has a "sureness of the soul."  Her entire self, like a tent, is made up of "countless silken ties of love and thought."  Then, in a slight turn of feeling, Frost indicates, that, just like with a tent, you occasionally are "of the slightest bondage made aware," meaning, you realize that you are trapped and contained.  He could be meaning that he feels helpless and captivated by her, just as he would be in a tent, or that her "capriciousness" that he mentions renders him bondage to her beauty and wit.

So, using the initial simile of a tent, Frost expounds to describe all of the ways that his loved one symbolically represents a tent, from good to bad.  I hope that thost thoughts help a bit; good luck!

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