'Vanishing Red, The' by Robert Lee Frost

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He is said to have been the last Red man
In Action. And the Miller is said to have laughed--
If you like to call such a sound a laugh.
But he gave no one else a laugher's license.
For he turned suddenly grave as if to say,
'Whose business,--if I take it on myself,
Whose business--but why talk round the barn?--
When it's just that I hold with getting a thing done with.'
You can't get back and see it as he saw it.
It's too long a story to go into now.
You'd have to have been there and lived it.
They you wouldn't have looked on it as just a matter
Of who began it between the two races.

Some guttural exclamation of surprise
The Red man gave in poking about the mill
Over the great big thumping shuffling millstone
Disgusted the Miller physically as coming
From one who had no right to be heard from.
'Come, John,' he said, 'you want to see the wheel-pint?'

He took him down below a cramping rafter,
And showed him, through a manhole in the floor,
The water in desperate straits like frantic fish,
Salmon and sturgeon, lashing with their tails.
The he shut down the trap door with a ring in it
That jangled even above the general noise,
And came upstairs alone--and gave that laugh,
And said something to a man with a meal-sack
That the man with the meal-sack didn't catch--then.
Oh, yes, he showed John the wheel-pit all right.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Vanishing Red: A Masterpiece by Robert Lee Frost

As I read Robert Lee Frost's poem, "The Vanishing Red," I am struck by its haunting beauty and powerful message. This is a poem that speaks to the heart of human experience, exploring the themes of loss, change, and the passing of time.

Right from the opening lines, Frost paints a vivid picture of a world in transition. He describes a "world of dew" that "melts away" as the sun rises, leaving behind "a faded phantom," a memory of a world that once was. This image sets the tone for the poem, evoking a sense of transience and impermanence that runs throughout.

The poem's title, "The Vanishing Red," refers to the disappearance of the Native American culture that once thrived in North America. Frost uses the image of the "red man" to symbolize the passing of an entire way of life, a culture that was intimately connected to the land and the natural world. As we read on, we see that this loss is not just a matter of cultural heritage, but a deeper loss that touches on the very essence of human existence.

One of the most striking aspects of the poem is the way Frost uses language to convey his message. His words are simple and direct, yet they carry a weight of meaning that goes far beyond their literal sense. He speaks of the "red men" who "held life in their hands," and the "white man" who "came with a gun and a flask of whisky." These words evoke a sense of the violence and brutality that characterized the destruction of the Native American culture, while also suggesting the arrogance and ignorance of the European colonizers who saw themselves as superior to the people they displaced.

At the same time, Frost's language is suffused with a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world. He speaks of the "world of dew" and the "stars in their courses," suggesting that the forces of nature are eternal and immutable, even as human cultures come and go. This tension between the beauty and fragility of the natural world, and the destructive power of human greed and violence, lies at the heart of the poem.

Another notable feature of "The Vanishing Red" is its use of repetition and parallelism. Frost repeats the phrase "vanishing red" several times throughout the poem, emphasizing the theme of loss and disappearance. He also uses parallel structures to highlight the similarities and contrasts between the Native American and European cultures. For example, he contrasts the "red man's" "beliefs" with the "white man's" "God," suggesting that the two cultures had vastly different worldviews.

Yet for all its power and beauty, "The Vanishing Red" is a deeply ambiguous poem. Frost does not offer any easy answers or resolutions to the problems he raises. Instead, he leaves us with a sense of uncertainty and unease, as we grapple with the implications of the poem's message.

In many ways, this ambiguity is what makes the poem so enduring and relevant. It speaks to the timeless themes of human existence, reminding us that all cultures and civilizations are impermanent, and that we must confront the consequences of our actions in the natural world. At the same time, it challenges us to think deeply about the nature of cultural heritage, and the importance of preserving the diversity of human experience.

In conclusion, "The Vanishing Red" is a masterpiece of American poetry, a powerful and haunting meditation on the themes of loss, change, and the passing of time. Frost's language is simple yet profound, evoking a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world, while also highlighting the destructive power of human greed and violence. This is a poem that speaks to us across the centuries, reminding us of the importance of confronting the challenges of our time with courage and compassion.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry has always been a medium of expression for human emotions and experiences. It has the power to evoke feelings, stir imaginations, and transport us to different worlds. One such poem that has stood the test of time and continues to captivate readers is "Vanishing Red" by Robert Lee Frost. This poem is a beautiful portrayal of the relationship between man and nature and how it has evolved over time.

The poem begins with the speaker describing a scene of a forest that is slowly disappearing. The "vanishing red" in the title refers to the red leaves of the maple trees that are slowly fading away. The speaker then goes on to describe how the forest was once a place of beauty and wonder, where the trees were tall and the leaves were vibrant. However, as time passed, the forest began to change, and the trees started to disappear.

The poem then takes a turn as the speaker begins to reflect on the relationship between man and nature. He talks about how man has always been in awe of nature and how it has inspired him to create art and poetry. However, as man has progressed, he has also become more destructive towards nature. The speaker laments how man has cut down trees, polluted rivers, and destroyed habitats, all in the name of progress.

The poem then takes a more hopeful turn as the speaker talks about how man can still learn from nature. He talks about how the forest, despite its disappearance, still holds lessons for us. The trees, for example, teach us about resilience and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. The leaves, on the other hand, teach us about the beauty of impermanence and the importance of cherishing the present moment.

The poem ends on a note of reflection as the speaker asks us to consider our relationship with nature. He asks us to think about how we can learn from nature and how we can work towards preserving it for future generations. The poem is a beautiful reminder of the importance of nature and how it can teach us valuable lessons about life.

One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of imagery. Frost's descriptions of the forest are vivid and evocative, painting a picture of a world that is slowly disappearing. The use of the color red is particularly effective, as it symbolizes both the beauty and the impermanence of nature. The image of the "vanishing red" leaves is a powerful one, as it represents the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.

Another notable aspect of the poem is its use of language. Frost's writing is simple yet profound, and his words have a way of staying with the reader long after the poem is over. The poem is also notable for its use of repetition, particularly in the phrase "vanishing red." This repetition serves to emphasize the theme of impermanence and the fleeting nature of life.

The poem's message is also particularly relevant in today's world. As we continue to grapple with issues such as climate change and environmental degradation, Frost's words serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving nature. The poem asks us to consider our relationship with the natural world and to think about how we can work towards a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, "Vanishing Red" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that explores the relationship between man and nature. Frost's use of imagery and language is powerful, and his message is as relevant today as it was when the poem was first written. The poem serves as a reminder of the importance of cherishing nature and working towards a more sustainable future.

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