Robert Frost - Birches

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  • Frost - Birches
    • Theme of Childhood Experience
    • Conversational Tone
      • "But what I was going to say"
        • Introduces the speaker's moralising reflection on childhood experience
          • Indeterminate adjective "Some boy" generalises what the speaker says of this childhood experience of play. He imagines his generalised boy.
        • unintentional digression - the speaker has not been able to keep to the subject
    • Reflective tone
      • Speaker characterised as a thoughtful observer
      • 1st person narrative
      • He always kept his poise to the top branches, climbing carefully with the same pains you use to fill a cup up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, kicking his way down through the air to the ground".
        • Punctuation, with the commas and their abandonment and the deliberate line-straddling rhyme demonstrates the careful final stages of the climbing and then the rush of the descending operations. Convincing aural and proprioceptive re-creation of the experience
          • Convincing introduction to the two admissions that this has been the speakers personal experience and he dreams of rediscovering it
    • Simile of "When life is too much like a pathless wood"
      • Developed as both the cause of his wishing to rediscover the childhood experience and because with the cobwebs and the lashing twigs it it appropriate to the setting.
        • Extended simile allows Frost to filter the theme of childhood experience through an older speaker who is weary and burdened with problems and who dreams of his childhood experience as a time of freedom.
          • The symbol of escape from earth's problems which the speaker is making out of the child's experience of climbing is treated carefully - emphasis of italicisation keeping the speaker "grounded". Coming back to earth is inevitable and not to be regretted Earth is "the right place for love".
    • "May no fate wilfully misunderstand me and half grant what I  wish and ****** me away not to return
      • The use of the modal verb "may" expresses a prayerful wish which shows that the speaker knows for an adult, childhood experience is not regainable though it may be temporarily enjoyed in memory.
    • Structurally, the treatment of childhood experience in Birches is that the climbing of birches is seen retrospectively by an adult speaker who endows it with a symbolic value and makes it relevant to adult life


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