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A Modern Artist's Craft Robert Frost And Wallace Stevens

1270 words - 5 pages

In any work of art, an artist is trying to tie the reality that we all experience to an object spawned in creativity. The artist looks to produce something that does not spell a meaning or message out to the interpreter but allows them to interpret that thing on their own. In Robert Frost's "The Oven Bird," Frost uses a bird to represent an artist and illustrates the paradox in creating modern art. This same paradox, the contrast between reality and imagination, can be seen in Wallace Stevens' "Anecdote of the Jar." In this poem, Stevens is trying to reconcile the world of the imagination and the reality of the world we live in. Both Frost's "The Oven Bird," and Stevens' "Anecdote of the Jar" use an object, to illustrate two main points; first, that an artist in the process of creating art can connect on an individual level with an observer without spelling out their message, and second that the reality of our world can reconcile itself with our imaginations, and creative efforts, this point is also further solidified in the style in which the authors crafted their poems.In Robert Frosts' "The Oven Bird," Frost uses the image of a bird singing in the woods to illustrate the craft of a writer as an artist. Once one establishes that these poems are about a piece of art, they begin to see how they illustrate the process of making that art. In Frost's poem he starts off with the artist himself represented by a bird in the first two lines. The reader sees the artist as "a singer everyone has heard, / loud, a mid-summer and mid-wood bird." These lines simply set up the metaphor of the artist as a bird in the middle of the woods. Frost portrays the artist as being able to make the solid silent "tree trunks make sound again." This illustrates the artist's ability to make the solid realities of our every day lives come alive with "sound." This poem is about the craft of a modern artist. No matter what form he chooses to express himself in, he has two main duties, to inspire thought, imagination, and the interpretation of everyday life, and to make sure that that inspiration comes in a form that does not slap the interpreter in the face with meaning, but allows that individual to interpret on their own. This is further illustrated in the last couple lines of this sonnet. The artist creates a bridge for us between the world we live in and the world of imagination within our own minds. Frost is showing this when he states: "the question that he frames in all but words / is what to make of a diminished thing." The artist allows us to interpret the smallest of things, which often seem insignificant, or "diminished," just as the Oven Bird in this poem allows us to think about the mission and craft of an artist. The trick to being a good artist is to make sure that you don't spell out the meaning of the image you are portraying. The job of the artist is to allow each individual interpreter to have their own experience of the object, contemplate that object, and...

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