I am writing a paper about Robert Frost's poem Birches, is this a good thesis? Robert Frost’s poem "Birches" reflects on the relationship between imagination and reality, enlightens about the...

I am writing a paper about Robert Frost's poem Birches, is this a good thesis? Robert Frost’s poem "Birches" reflects on the relationship between imagination and reality, enlightens about the need for boundaries, and, explores the idea of conquest.

 

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Frost's "Birches" is a poem rich in language and meaning.  I like your idea to explore the relationship between imagination and reality.  We see much of that as the speaker describes the trees bent by the ice storms but prefers to think a boy might have  bent the trees by riding them.  Even the speaker acknowledges the contrasting elements of his statement with references to "Truth" (But I was going to say when Truth broke in)  and imagination, or reminiscence.

The second part of your thesis, though, is less clear.  The need for boundaries is clearly a theme in "The Mending Wall," but I'm not sure that it is developed in "Birches."  We do see, however, the need for escape.  Toward the end of the poem the birches symbolize the speaker's method of escape from life's problems and miseries ("And life is too much like a pathless wood . . ..I'd like to get away from earth for awhile").

The same is true for conquest.  Sure, the young boy is able to tame the birches by riding them, but this fact does not seem to be a major idea in the poem.  You might move to a more easily supportable idea such as the need for balance--an idea that is supported literally as the boy balances on the top limbs before jumping and  metaphorically as the speaker describes the desire to balance the ideas of "going and coming back."  This could lead to an exploration of the way the poem balances the need for both truth and imagination as well as escape and reality.

Good luck with this essay.