How do you think a Puritan writer would answer the questions Frost asks in this poem, "Design"?

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writergal06 | Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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In this poem by Robert Frost, he brings out questions that seem to resonate through literature of every time period. He is contemplating life and death, good and evil, and their origins. Upon observing the spider and the moth, the poem's speaker asks:

"What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small."

The conservative Puritan view gave specific answers to these questions. Puritans looked at every aspect of life through the view of a all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God. Unlike the Deists beliefs, Puritans saw God has Sovereign and in control of all things. With these beliefs in mind, the Puritan would answer these questions simply and directly -- God is the Designer behind each aspect of nature. He had a specific plan for each when he designed them. It is in his perfect plan for the moth to be captured by the spider's web.


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