illustrated portrait of American poet Robert Frost

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What is the summary and major themes of Robert Frost's "A Fountain, A Bottle, A Donkey's Ears, and Some Books"?

Quick answer:

"A Fountain, A Bottle, A Donkey's Ears, and Some Books" is a poem by Robert Frost describing the search for the original site of the Mormon religion. The poem describes two men searching for the Mormon settlement. One of these men is a tour guide named "Old Davis". The other man is unnamed in this poem. At first, Old Davis does not want to take his companion on this journey. When they arrive at the hillside where they are looking for the settlement, Davis discovers that there is actually an image shaped like a bottle on one side of this hillside. After discovering this bottle-shaped image, Old Davis wishes to continue exploring and investigating further.

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Robert Frost's poem, "A Fountain, A Bottle, A Donkey's Ears, and Some Books" is not a well-known Frost poem.

In this poem, the speaker is speaking with a man named "Old Davis". This man is a tour guide. When the original speaker is not excited about seeing what Davis has to offer, he asks Davis to take him to the place where the Mormon religion was first created. Although Davis is not eager for this opportunity, they begin searching for this place.

While the men are looking for the birthplace of Mormonism (the fountain), they stumble upon a bottle-shaped image on the side of a cliff. Davis wishes to look more closely at this image. At this time, donkey's ears are also mentioned when Davis is describing the sides of the cliff. The speaker is not interested in investigating further.

Next, the men go to the home of Clara Robinson. At this house there are many books laying around. The speaker takes one of these books with him.

This poem has two major themes, religion and freedom. Religion is a more obvious theme as Frost is searching for the original Mormon settlement yet is unable to find it. This theme also ties into art as the search for the settlement ultimately ends with the speaker finding an abandoned house of books of poetry. Frost creates a theme of freedom in this poem as well since he describes a day in which two men are free to wander around discovering what the world has to offer them. This could be an allusion to the freedom of religion as well as the freedom to choose for oneself.

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