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The Dominance Of Nature To Mankind

1248 words - 5 pages

In Robert Frost's "The Need of Being Versed in Country Things," the speaker provides the readers with a juxtaposition between humans and nature. In the poem, a farmhouse was burned down, yet the reactions of humans and of nature to this tragedy are completely opposite. Frost, an avid advocate of nature over society, attempts to show his readers how nature essentially triumphs over mankind through its strength, resiliency to tragedies, and resourcefulness of what seems to be broken down and beyond help. Frost uses personification, anthropomorphizing, and the idea of cycles along with the contrasting responses of nature and man to their disruption to fully convey to the readers nature's dominance over humans.
First, Frost's use of personification clearly shows nature's strength over mankind. The speaker says, "the barn opposed across the way/ That would have joined the house in flame/ Had it been the will of the wind" (lines 5-7). These lines essentially attribute the tragedy of the fire and even the salvage of the barn, to the wind, which is given the human characteristic of will or volition. Although the wind is given a human trait, the way the wind uses its will is to help nature: the wind could have burned down the barn as well, to further its display of power, but birds and other animals utilize the barn for shelter and safety; because it acts as a refuge for nature, the wind allows the barn the stay. Even though the wind prevented the barn's destruction, its strength does leave the farm burned down and useless; the wind has the power of nature to direct the fire in whatever way it desires; the way that it uses this power to leave the home of humans, the farm, helpless reveals how weak man is in comparison to nature, as the farm's fate was completely determined by the wind. The fact that the wind has will further asserts nature's dominance to mankind: the wind, representing nature, could have easily allowed the barn to be engulfed in flames, yet it spares the manmade creation merely for nature's sake.
In addition to the personification of the wind, Frost anthropomorphizes the birds to further the idea of nature's dominance over mankind. The speaker says, "The birds that came to it through the air/ At the broken windows flew out and in,/ Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh/ From too much dwelling on what has been" (lines 13-16). In these lines, the speaker essentially describes a generic human reaction to the house getting burned down through anthropomorphizing the birds. He makes the birds seem human-like in that they sigh deeply when faced with a tragedy, dwelling on what they had lost rather than the present or the future. These lines show that humanity's flaw is spending too much time on the past with depression over what had happened instead of looking to the future and attempting to benefit from loss. Regardless of the depressed human characteristics given to the birds in these lines, the birds actually feel contrary to the human...

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