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Reluctance Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Frost Type: poem Views: 256

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Out through the fields and the woods

And over the walls I have wended;

I have climbed the hills of view

And looked at the world, and descended;

I have come by the highway home,

And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the group,

  Save those that the oak is keeping

To ravel them one by one

And let them go scraping and creeping

Out over the crusted snow,

When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,

No longer blown hither and thither;

The last long aster is gone;

The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;

The heart is still aching to seek,

But the feel question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man

Was it ever less than a treason

To go with the drift of things,

To yield with a grace to reason,

And bow and accept the end

Of a love or a season?


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Frost is adept at revealing aspects of human nature that while general or even universal can come together to say specific about the particular subject of a poem. I think it's worth without restarting everything that was said already) that I agree with most of the comments that mention his personal history with Elinor to be significant given the timing of the writing. The analogy of the oak being reluctant in giving up its last leaves is meant to provide a direct parallel and lend some degree of evidence to the idea that the nature of the human being is similarly reluctant to be patient. Speaking of patience the aster flower represents love and patience among other things. Witch hazel is used to treat wounds and relieve pain. If we read other Frost poetry we quickly learn that every word is chosen very carefully not just for tone or definition but for any number of criteria which may not be immediately aware of. It seems to me that Frost chooses words like puzzle pieces in a nearly obsessive manner making sure they fit in every possible way. For this reason I consider every word referencing the physical world chosen in Frost poetry to be of particular significance. I don't recall all references to Oak in other poems but I'm sure there are potentially many reasons why he references Oak rather than using other options to explain his analogy

| Posted on 2017-06-28 | by a guest

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"Reluctance" is a wonderful poem by Frost. He is describing the heartbreak he experienced in 1894, when he traveled from Mass to NY to propose to Elinor at her college, and she rebuked him. Grief-stricken, he traveled to the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia, feeling alienated and contemplating suicide. In the first stanza, when he says "I have climbed the hills of view", the play on words is the "hills of you". He is speaking directly to Elinor and referencing the new perspective he has gained by having to face unrequited love. The emotional impact from the ups and downs of that lost love is evident again when he says he has come by the "highway" home, and "lo" it has ended. Fortunately, after wandering through the swamp for a few days, he was picked up by some fishermen, who took him to Elizabeth City, NC. It took him several weeks to get home, and apparently he and Elinor reconciled soon thereafter. The rest is history. Frost refused to go with the "drift of things". He didn't give up. Somewhere in that Great Dismal Swamp, he must have decided that to go "out through" (first two words of the poem) was the only way forward, even when the outlook was dark and swampy. Thank you Robert Frost.

| Posted on 2016-01-12 | by a guest

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I mostly agree with the Guest who commented above on 2010-02-22, and I believe that nterpretation to be the richest I can think of -- that man will until his or her last dying breath be somewhere inside his heart and soul resisting being gracious and reasonable enough to have the common sense to resign himself to the fact that all good things must inevitably end -- a good life, a love affair, a wonderful Spring and Summer. And what better bittersweet metaphor to use than Autumn foliage and all of nature's trappings in its saddest season. My cousin read this poem to our large extended family inside our grandparents' house in new orleans that was being sold in the Fall of 1983 after being in our family for 63 years. My grandparents had long since past on, and there was no descendant rich enough to purchase it and keep it in the family, and so we reluctantly had to sell Mamadear and Papa's home in Uptown New Orleans, to which each of us 18 grandchildren had a key since our youth.
eral short comments allowed. Due to Spam Posts are moderated before posted.

| Posted on 2015-09-01 | by a guest

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This poem is about lost youth and the spark of love that comes so easily between two young people but not for the old. It is also about relationships with loved ones coming to abrupt and permanent ends.

| Posted on 2013-12-24 | by a guest

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In addition to the aforementioned, Frost also had a very personal connection to \"Reluctance.\" When he first proposed to his future wife, she declined his proposal. Frost contemplated suicide, hence the dead leaves, etc. However, he refused to\"bow and accept the end\" of the relationship or \"go with the drift of things.\" Therefore, there is a personal, yet universal, theme to this beautifully crafted piece.

| Posted on 2012-07-04 | by a guest

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I think in this poem Robert Frost is trying to ask why people will not fight to keep what they love. In the last stanza he asks why it is not treason to go with the flow of things, for in his mind, going with the flow of something even though you dont want this thing to happen, is treason. he never wanted to leave his love, and now he is regreting his loss.

| Posted on 2012-05-15 | by a guest

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Reluctance by Robert Frost is a beautiful yet ambiguous poem. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam viverra feugiat libero sit amet auctor. Pellentesque quis ipsum magna. Morbi bibendum aliquet metus, nec vulputate diam tempor sit amet. Morbi dui nulla, lacinia non aliquam quis, tincidunt sit amet nisl. Duis egestas ligula vel metus venenatis accumsan. Mauris a condimentum risus. Proin mi nunc, congue at varius id, tempus ut nunc. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Ut at magna id neque porta fermentum. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Fusce ac viverra velit. Aenean nec metus id massa gravida posuere sit amet eu lorem. Ut ut tortor pretium mi ultrices suscipit at eleifend quam. In luctus feugiat dapibus. Sed viverra condimentum diam, a lacinia purus volutpat ac. Vestibulum pellentesque nisl a arcu porta aliquet. Nulla nisi arcu, gravida ut rhoncus quis, facilisis vitae arcu. Quisque quis erat a magna tempus porta nec eget risus. Praesent et dapibus purus. Integer id molestie libero. Quisque at enim eu ligula ultricies vestibulum vitae sit amet dui. Etiam suscipit, nunc ut rutrum sagittis, mi arcu aliquam urna, accumsan elementum nisl elit ut lectus. Nam tristique eros nec nibh venenatis et blandit erat lobortis. Proin eu rutrum felis. Morbi lorem tortor, semper in iaculis vel, adipiscing mollis metus. Morbi ornare eleifend ipsum, vitae pretium dolor accumsan venenatis. Proin ut lectus ligula, non porta ante. Ut vulputate, elit nec tincidunt accumsan, leo erat sodales lacus, eu varius turpis libero sit amet diam. Nunc id tempus nibh. Maecenas molestie pretium commodo. Morbi laoreet, ligula sed malesuada rhoncus, massa odio dictum neque, sed sagittis odio sem ac dui. Suspendisse nec ante et quam laoreet viverra. Pellentesque sed purus vitae metus tempus accumsan eget in mi. Sed scelerisque accumsan quam ut sollicitudin. Nunc ullamcorper laoreet enim et ultrices. Aliquam faucibus mattis erat non luctus. Duis at dui sit amet nisl tincidunt consectetur. Nulla rutrum augue ac purus dapibus sed vehicula tortor aliquet. Nam porttitor nunc ac neque dictum congue. Vestibulum euismod tempus eros, id pellentesque felis aliquam a. Sed in ante dolor. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Quisque malesuada bibendum neque. Vestibulum eros neque, tincidunt et facilisis nec, volutpat a quam. Duis ultrices iaculis nisl, in pharetra tortor mattis at. Nunc sit amet diam in massa convallis fermentum. Quisque egestas condimentum mollis. Donec ullamcorper orci vitae sem vestibulum ut tempor urna tincidunt. Duis ut tempor dui. Quisque vel sapien est, vel posuere arcu. Morbi accumsan malesuada tincidunt. Curabitur sodales volutpat libero. Aliquam ut leo eros. And that is what I think Frost is trying to communicate.

| Posted on 2012-02-06 | by a guest

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Reluctance has two meaning, one is simply understood as of him strolling through the countryside, the other alludes to the changing nature of us and our surroundings. The poem can be enterpreted in many other ways, however the metaphor to the life cycle is evident/

| Posted on 2011-02-15 | by a guest

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He is speaking of a lost love.
There is nothing he can do to get back his love only the memories that remain ( the ones the oak is keeping)

| Posted on 2010-12-06 | by a guest

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This is a beautiful, subtle, elegant, and concise poem, rich with symbolic imagery and metaphor, about man and nature\'s reluctance to accept the end of any aspect of life. It is inherent in man and nature to seek life beyond any end.

| Posted on 2010-11-14 | by a guest

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\'Reluctance\' is based upon an analogy between man and nature; the ever changing nature of season is a metaphor of life. There is a shift from the personal to the universal.

| Posted on 2010-10-17 | by a guest

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When Frost wrote Reluctance, it was clear to the wider vision that an age was passing, that the Western world was entering some new and different experience. This was the age of Eliot\'s \"Wasteland,\" of Spengler\'s \"Decline and Fall,\" of Yeats\' \"The Second Coming.\"

| Posted on 2010-07-28 | by a guest

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I wanted to add something more because there seems to be a lot of confusion/discussion over the final stanza. So here is a \'line-by-line\' interpretation in the simplest of \'modern\' English that I can come up with:
\"Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason\"
When did it ever not bother a man\'s heart...
\"To go with the drift of things\"
To allow or to succumb to things just happen(ing) as they do
\"To yield with a grace to reason\"
To gracefully, willingly accept the inevitable (change(s))
\"And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?\"
And simply accept that a love has been lost, or is gone

| Posted on 2010-07-27 | by a guest

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The guest who said that \"\'Reluctance\' is about man\'s unwillingness to accept life as it flows\" is more or less correct. This becomes most clear in the final six lines, which are a dead give-away (one really needs not read more into a poem when something is clearly stated). In this poem, Frost has used the changing of seasons as a metaphor for the changes in life--and in the end he pinpoints this change to the loss of a love (a \'letting-go\' if you will, a change that one must become accustomed to but finds difficulty in doing).

| Posted on 2010-07-27 | by a guest

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Frost expreses through this sadness poem his end of his life. Though he saids " accept the end" meaning that his reletionship or something else was definitely over.

| Posted on 2010-05-10 | by a guest

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I think Frost is wondering why we are so willing to accept an end. While this poem may be about the end of life, it is also about the end of a relationship...a relationship that could have prospered had we not so easily given up. Why do we "yield with a grace to reason"? Why does reason have to make the decisions that the heart should be making?

| Posted on 2010-05-09 | by a guest

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While this poem can certainly be referencing several different topics, I think Frost may be writing about all of our inevitable journey to death. In the first stanza he writes of where he has been (the fields and woods and over the walls). These places are vast, untouched, and not easily reached. These are the places he has seen, the hills of view where he lived his fullest. He comes by the highway home in a hurry because he has seen it all and realizes it has all ended. The rest of the poem pretty much ends with him realizing that it is truly over and things are coming to an end just as the seasons do in a year. And he realizes his life was only just for a season and it must end. But it is a betrayal of the heart to lie down and accept that it can no longer live, laugh, and love.

| Posted on 2010-03-01 | by a guest

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To me Frost is describing the melancholy of Autumn, although he longs to continue, he knows deep down that his walks and explorations must come to anb end, as winter is coming. Frost is unwilling to face the dying of the year in the same way that people are reluctant to accept the end of a love affair. Both ideas hint, perhaps,at the final extinction of man in death. In a way i think that the poet see's autumn as a metaphor for human mortality.

| Posted on 2010-02-22 | by a guest

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I came across this poem in the hospital after my mother's death and with that in mind this poem seems to analyze the way in which we will always try to fight the inevitable. always reluctant to let go.

| Posted on 2009-05-25 | by a guest

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In the first lines a man has come to the end of his journey. Things of nature are dying all around him, yet the heart desires to continue to wander or live but doesn't know whats next. The last stanza asks the confused heart if it thinks it should just give up, accept that its fate is that of the things around it..or whether it should fight and live.

| Posted on 2009-05-21 | by a guest

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Its Frost urging the reader not to just accept things, dont go against your heart. In the heart of man, when has is NOT been a treason to just give in. Your betraying yourself by just accepting something.
Just because something ends, and you cannot stop it or you think it cannot be stopped, don't just accept it. Follow your heart that is "seeking" and ignore your feet that question the logicalness of where you will go. Do NOT be reluctant.

| Posted on 2009-03-17 | by a guest

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i im naveen from class 821, I want to know more about this poem , please post ur interpretation, i need at least a page long double space

| Posted on 2009-03-02 | by a guest

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He doesn't want change, and he will not accept it. See how he mentions treason? He's refering to letting go, and how when love last not forever, it's almost defiance.

| Posted on 2009-02-07 | by a guest

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"Reluctance" is about man's unwillingness to accept life as it flows.

| Posted on 2008-09-12 | by a guest

.: Reluctance :.

"Reluctance" is a rich poem that refers to seasons in a telling way as he compares human feelings about seasons and feelings about love.

| Posted on 2008-04-01 | by a guest

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