'Runaway , The' by Robert Lee Frost

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Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
We stopped by a mountain pasture to say, “Whose colt?”
A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head
And snorted to us. And then we saw him bolt.
We heard the miniature thunder where he fled,
And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and gray,
Like a shadow across instead of behind the flakes.
The little fellow’s afraid of the falling snow.
He never saw it before. It isn’t play
With the little fellow at all. He’s running away.
He wouldn’t believe when his mother told him, ‘Sakes,
It’s only weather.’ He thought she didn’t know!
So this is something he has to bear alone
And now he comes again with a clatter of stone,
He mounts the wall again with whited eyes
Dilated nostrils, and tail held straight up straight.
He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies.
“Whoever it is that leaves him out so late,
When all other creatures have gone to stall and bin,
Ought to be told to come and take him in.”

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Classic Poetry of Robert Lee Frost: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation of "Runaway"

If you're a lover of classic poetry, then you've definitely come across the works of Robert Lee Frost. His poems are a masterclass in the art of storytelling, and they never fail to leave an impression on the reader. One of his most famous works is the poem "Runaway," which tells the story of a young boy who runs away from home. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we'll take a deeper look at this classic poem and explore its themes, literary devices, and overall message.

The Plot of "Runaway"

"Runaway" tells the story of a young boy who decides to run away from his home. The poem begins with the boy packing his bag and setting out on his journey. As he walks, he encounters various obstacles, such as a brook, a wall, and a hill. Despite these obstacles, he continues on his journey, determined to reach his destination.

As the journey progresses, the boy begins to feel tired and hungry. He starts to regret his decision to run away and wonders if he made the right choice. However, he keeps going, driven by his desire to see the world beyond his small town.

Eventually, the boy reaches a crossroads, where he has to make a decision about which path to take. He chooses the path that leads him away from his home, and the poem ends with him walking off into the distance, leaving his past behind.

Themes in "Runaway"

"Runaway" explores several themes, including the desire for adventure, the fear of the unknown, and the consequences of our choices.

The poem suggests that the desire for adventure is a powerful motivator that can drive us to take risks and explore new territories. The young boy in the poem is motivated by his desire to see the world beyond his small town, and he is willing to face obstacles and challenges to achieve his goal. However, the poem also suggests that this desire can be misguided, as the boy begins to regret his decision as he faces the challenges of his journey.

The fear of the unknown is another theme that the poem explores. The young boy is venturing into unfamiliar territory, and he is uncertain about what he will encounter on his journey. This fear is reflected in the obstacles that he faces, such as the brook, the wall, and the hill. However, the poem suggests that facing our fears can be a source of growth, as the boy learns to overcome the obstacles in his path.

Finally, the poem explores the consequences of our choices. The young boy's decision to run away from home has a profound impact on his life, as he leaves behind his past and sets out on a new path. The poem suggests that our choices have the power to shape our lives, and that we must be mindful of the consequences of our actions.

Literary Devices in "Runaway"

"Runaway" is a masterclass in the use of literary devices to create meaning and convey emotion. Frost uses a variety of techniques to bring the poem to life, including imagery, symbolism, and metaphor.

One of the most striking examples of imagery in the poem is the description of the brook. Frost writes, "The brook was thrown deep in shadow / At midday when the might of heaven / Was spent on the height of the hill." This description creates a vivid picture in the reader's mind and conveys the sense of darkness and foreboding that the boy feels as he approaches the brook.

Symbolism is also used effectively in the poem. The wall that the boy encounters can be seen as a symbol of the barriers that we face in life, while the hill represents the challenges that we must overcome to achieve our goals. The crossroads at the end of the poem symbolizes the moment of decision that the boy must face, and the choice that he makes will determine the course of his life.

Finally, metaphor is used to great effect in the poem. The boy's journey can be seen as a metaphor for the journey of life, with its ups and downs, challenges and obstacles. The act of running away from home can be seen as a metaphor for the desire to escape from the confines of our lives and explore new possibilities.

The Message of "Runaway"

So, what is the message of "Runaway"? At its core, the poem is a meditation on the human desire for adventure and the consequences of our choices. It suggests that while the desire for adventure can be a powerful motivator, it can also lead us astray if we do not carefully consider the consequences of our actions.

The poem also suggests that facing our fears and overcoming obstacles can be a source of growth and transformation. The young boy in the poem learns to overcome the obstacles in his path and emerges stronger and wiser as a result.

Finally, the poem suggests that the choices we make in life have the power to shape our destiny. The young boy's decision to run away from home has a profound impact on his life, and the poem invites us to consider the consequences of our own choices and actions.


"Runaway" is a classic poem that explores the human desire for adventure, the fear of the unknown, and the consequences of our choices. Frost's masterful use of literary devices creates a vivid and compelling story that invites us to reflect on our own lives and the choices that we make. Whether you're a lover of classic poetry or simply looking for a thought-provoking read, "Runaway" is a poem that is sure to leave an impression.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Robert Lee Frost’s “The Runaway” is a classic poem that captures the essence of human nature and the complexities of relationships. Written in 1914, the poem tells the story of a young girl who runs away from home with her lover, leaving behind her family and the life she once knew. Frost’s use of vivid imagery, symbolism, and metaphorical language creates a powerful and emotional narrative that explores themes of love, freedom, and the consequences of our actions.

The poem begins with a description of the young girl’s escape, as she and her lover ride off into the night on a horse-drawn carriage. Frost’s use of imagery is particularly effective in this opening stanza, as he paints a picture of the couple’s journey through the dark and lonely countryside. The “whinnying” of the horse and the “jingle-bells” on the harness create a sense of movement and urgency, while the “frosty air” and “moon” provide a haunting and eerie backdrop to the scene.

As the poem progresses, Frost introduces the girl’s father, who is described as a “hard man” with a “heavy hand”. This characterization is important, as it sets up the conflict that drives the narrative. The girl’s desire for freedom and love is pitted against her father’s strict and controlling nature, creating a tension that is palpable throughout the poem.

Frost’s use of metaphorical language is particularly effective in this section of the poem, as he compares the father to a “stone” and the daughter to a “flower”. This metaphor highlights the power dynamic between the two characters, with the father representing the unyielding force of authority and the daughter representing the fragile beauty of youth and innocence.

As the poem reaches its climax, the girl’s father sets out in pursuit of the couple, determined to bring his daughter back home. Frost’s use of symbolism is particularly effective in this section, as he describes the father’s journey through the “darkness” and “snow”. This imagery creates a sense of danger and foreboding, as the father’s pursuit becomes increasingly desperate and dangerous.

The final stanza of the poem is perhaps the most powerful, as Frost describes the aftermath of the girl’s escape. The “empty house” and “broken sheds” serve as a metaphor for the shattered relationships and broken dreams that result from the girl’s actions. The final lines of the poem, “And never again would she dare / To set foot in the place she had known as home”, are particularly poignant, as they capture the sense of loss and regret that the girl feels as a result of her decision.

Overall, “The Runaway” is a powerful and emotionally charged poem that explores the complexities of human relationships and the consequences of our actions. Frost’s use of vivid imagery, metaphorical language, and symbolism creates a narrative that is both haunting and beautiful, capturing the essence of what it means to be human. Whether read as a cautionary tale or a celebration of love and freedom, “The Runaway” is a classic poem that continues to resonate with readers today.

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