Category: Literature

Introduction

Literature modernism was one of the most outstanding periods in the history of art writing. The period took place at the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries, and it brought with itself the wind of changes in the new century. Modernist period can be characterized by the strong wish of its representatives to get away from literary devices and images of the previous periods, and to find absolutely new approaches of writing. They experimented with the form and content, changed expression and rhythm. The strong wish to break the old models and stereotypes and to show the new literature was caused by the settlement of absolutely new time period with new values and fairs that needed to be properly expressed. The 20th century was marked by the most terrifying warfare in the history of mankind. After the First World War the whole understanding of human rights and values, the purposes of life and rationality got through the serious crisis period and, therefore, were drastically changed (Patrick n.p.). This period is well-known because of the high value of the changes it brought to literature, and due to the great number of outstanding authors it gave to the world. One of the most remarkable representatives of this period was Robert Frost. This paper represents the analysis of this modernist writer, Robert Frost, and analyses his poems to study the basic features of poetry of that period (Pinsky n.p.).

Body

Robert Frost is considered to be the one of the brightest modernists, because his poems expressed the main problems of the people that live in the modern world, where life is ruled by science and developing technologies. But, although he was the real representative of the period and was closely connected with other modernist poets, his uniqueness is determined by his difference from the other modernist literature. While the modernist poetry is generally considered as the poetry of the elite that is distanced from the understanding of common people’s life with all its complexity, Frost adheres to the realities of the working class representatives, common people and the problems they face in everyday life. In contrast to the unrealistic comparisons and innovative forms, the writer used worldly themes for his poems, and they can be easily recognized by the common phrases and simple words he used. He preferred to disclose the problems of a modern man, capitalist world, the social isolation of personality, the monotony of the human existence.

The poems that seem to be the most modernist in their nature are “The Death of the Hired Man” (Frost n.p.) and “Home Burial” (Frost n.p.). They concentrate on the same problem – the problem of the married relations. The heart of the conflict lies in different understanding of life. The husbands represent the views that are opposed to those of their wives’.

There are three main characters within the poem “The Death of the Hired Man”. Silas, the first one, is the authoritative husband that represents the capitalism. He is a typical representative of the working class, the indirect victim of the system. As all the other workers, Silas worked with all his strength for his entire life and still got nothing in return. Even when he dies, he is not adequately rewarded for all he gave to the system. His wife, Mary, is totally under the dominance of her husband. She represents the image that is opposing to Silas. Silas, himself, is the main figure of the poem that tells us about his death. This man provokes sympathy. He is very old and looks senile, and he also is an example of the isolation problem, as he is really distanced from the rest of the world. His self-concentration makes him be more closed that he could be, and this feature makes him distanced from his rich brother, with whom he can’t settle good relationship. Warren, his brother, also have some negative feelings about his brother. Warren can’t understand the reason Silas left the farm in the days of hard work. Silas did it for the higher payments he believed he would get. That is why Warren does not feel sorry about the situation, and tries to buy his brother’s labor. He also represents the capitalist system. So, it can be seen that nobody understands Silas, and he is, in fact, very lonely. The problems of loneliness in the modern world of money and technologies, as well as self-concentration, are central themes of the modernist literature.

“The Home Burial” is also concentrated on the topical problem for the modernism – the problem of self-centralized personality that concentrates on oneself. The too sensitive and too prejudicial wife is opposed to her practical husband. The story tells about the conflict appeared after the death of their newborn baby. Wife can’t forget the moment when the husband buried the baby himself in the yard in front of their house. The views of husband are absolutely different, and he finds it normal to do that. They also understand the fact of death of their son differently: while the wife can’t cope with the loss, the husband thinks that the pain can be reduced with the everyday life routine. The husband represents the self-centralized selfish man who can betray his own dead son. The modern time period made people to be like this, replacing their sympathy and sense with selfishness and self-concentration. This poem is a perfect example of the modernist problems of human life, and through the story readers face some of the crises of that period.

Conclusion

The modernist period was a bright one in the history of literature. One of the most interesting representatives of modern literature was Robert Frost. He wrote poems on themes typical for this period: the problem of self-centralization of human being, the isolation from the modern world, selfishness, the boredom people feel, capitalism. Robert Frost preferred to adhere to the working class representatives and showed the stories from their life in his poems. He had a real talent to use a simple language of this social group to show how the problems of the period touched the biggest part of the population.

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