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An Analysis Of Robert Frost's Once By The Pacific

890 words - 4 pages

An Analysis of Robert Frost's Once by the Pacific

Most readers are familiar with the poetry of Robert Frost, but they may not be familiar with his poem "Once by the Pacific." This poem stands out from most of his popular poems, which frequently relate to rural New England life. Many critics have thus commented that his works are too simple. "Once by the Pacific," however, seems to challenge this opinion, as it is one of Frost's more "difficult" poems to interpret.


Although this poem also is connected with nature, the theme is more universal in that it could be related to Armageddon, or the end of the world. Even though this theme may seem simple, it is really ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, God promised in Genesis 9:15 that "never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." It seems that Frost portrays nature as having its own plan, as he writes with nature in the active voice. Also, why does Frost speak of this in the past tense? Perhaps Frost was thinking back to the Great Flood and painting a picture of someone by the shore before the waters started to rise. Thus, the "age" Frost writes about could be interpreted as the pre-Noah days on earth.

Perhaps Frost is not implying that the earth was or will be destroyed by flood, even though it seems water is the destructive element. Frost could simply be creating a mood or atmosphere as a setting before the destruction to come. The "low and hairy" clouds create a gloomy feeling that Frost later describes as a "night of dark intent." The intense images and confusing tense can fool the reader into thinking that this event has already taken place. A close examination of the tense and words reveal that the event has not occurred, but the strong images create a feeling of certainty that the "end" is beginning. Frost brings this intensity to a climax with the line "someone had better be prepared for rage." Also, Frost speaks of an event much more powerful than flood with the last two lines, "There would be more than ocean-water broken / Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken." While most of the poem creates this element of certainty, there is a brief point where...

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