Robert Frost Questions and Answers

Robert Frost book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Please help me  interpret the poem "The Line Gang" by Robert Frost. I'm having a really hard time trying to figure out what Robert Frost is trying to convey in this poem: Here come the line-gang pioneering by,They throw a forest down less cut than broken.They plant dead trees for living, and the deadThey string together with a living thread.They string an instrument against the skyWherein words whether beaten out or spokenWill run as hushed as when they were a thoughtBut in no hush they string it: they go pastWith shouts afar to pull the cable taught,To hold it hard until they make it fast,To ease away -- they have it. With a laugh,An oath of towns that set the wild at naughtThey bring the telephone and telegraph. I'd really appreciate anyones help.

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write10,668 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The title of the poem reveals the subject. The poet is critiquing the upheaval that the line gang's installation of telegraph and telegram lines is bringing to his once quiet and undisturbed rural setting. The poem is about how he resents the intrusion of the line gang.

He refers to line gang as "pioneering," alluding to the settlers who once arrived at unspoiled, natural places and disrupted them. He implies the line gang is careless, not so much cutting down trees as breaking them to make way for the "dead trees" (telephone and telegraph pools) the gang erects in their place.

He says the line gang is noisy as it works, in contrast to the "hush" or silence which will prevail when the lines later bring words via phone or telegram to people. The line gang "shouts" and "laugh[s]." In general, it is a nuisance, disturbing the narrator's peace.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

S.L. Watson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write580 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

The poem "The Line Gang" by Robert Frost was published in 1916, an era that was new to technology. In this poem it appears that the poet is questioning...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 606 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

jmj616 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write454 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History




check Approved by eNotes Editorial