illustrated portrait of American poet Robert Frost

Robert Frost

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In "A Minor Bird," Robert Frost expresses modern man's inability to appreciate nature. Comment on this idea.

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Robert Frost's "A Minor Bird" opens with a title which reflects man's inability to appreciate nature. The use of the word "minor" in the title shows the insignificance with which man regards nature.

The speaker begins with the thoughts that he or she wishes the bird will fly away. The constant singing all day seems to really bother the speaker. The speaker has even tried to drive the bird away with the sound of clapping hands.

At one point, the speaker realizes the bird singing was not the fault of the bird; instead, it was the fault of the speaker. Closing the poem, the speaker recognizes the fact that there is really something wrong with wanting to silence the bird's song. This speaks to a realization by the speaker that the fault lies in him or her and not in nature's desire to do what it was put on earth to do.

All said, Frost is considered a Romantic poet by some and a Realist by others. This poem actually shows a little of both movements. The inclusion of nature depicts the Romantic in Frost. On the other hand, the speaker's initial aggravation at the singing (and the desire to drive the bird away) depicts the Realist in Frost. Regardless of the movement, the poem certainly speaks to mankind's desire to control nature. That said, while the speaker of the poem admits to his or her distaste of the constant singing, one must remember to separate the poet from the speaker. While some of the poet's own ideologies may be inferred to be a part of the poem, this is not always the fact.

Therefore, one could more easily define the speaker as one who fails to possess the ability to appreciate nature (over Frost). Even then, one can only assume that Frost wrote the poem in order to increase the awareness of readers regarding their lack of appreciation of nature. In the end, the poem itself speaks to man's inability to appreciate nature (through the title, the irritation of the bird's song, and the questioning of why the song should be stopped). Also, the poem's speaker is singular. Therefore, as the author of the poem, Frost is not assuming that all of mankind fails to appreciate nature; instead, he is only referring to a small number of people who find the song of a bird irritating.

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