Robert Frost

Robert Frost book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In the poem "Desert Places" by Robert Frost, who are "They" that can create fear by talking about the emptiness of space, and what are the "desert places" within the speaker that may be compared to the literal emptiness of space?

Expert Answers info

kanika-dang eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write12 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

Robert Frost is one of the greatest modern poets of American literature. His poems are embedded with thought-provoking symbolism. In the poem "Desert Places," Frost delves into the theme of loneliness and disconsolateness. He uses words such as "falling," "loneliness," "snow," and "absent-spirited" to reinforce the idea of isolation and create vivid imagery of desolation.

The title "Desert Places" has a literal meaning referring to barren places in the environment and a connotative meaning referring to the spiritual wilderness. In the line "They cannot scare me with their empty spaces," the word...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 391 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write9,797 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mkcapen1 | Student

In the poem "Desert Spaces" by Robert Frost talks of emptiness, loneliness, and uses winter's snowfall to describe the feelings and emotions brought on by winter. 

Line 13 speaks of man's own fears and the way in which man causes himself to feel afraid by loneliness.  Mankind has a needed for the involvement of other and a person looking over a blank white space such as the snowfall witnesses’ isolation.  Frost is also referring to his own self and thoughts.  The term “they” are Frost’s own thoughts which at present seem to be dormant and useless with the exception of serving to make him feel more isolated.

In line 16 of the poem Frost uses desert places to describe the desolation and loneliness that he feels.  Winter is often a time of seasonal depression and the theme of this poem demonstrates those feelings.


check Approved by eNotes Editorial