Saturday, October 10, 2009

Did We abolish Frost

Did We abolish Frost
The Summer would not cease--
If Seasons perish or prevail
Is optional with Us--
(F 1024)

Yet another of Dickinson's briefest of poems, and one that doesn't really rhyme. This particular poem can be interpreted as the desire to control nature, and by proxy the passage or progression of time. If people were to do away with the cold frost, the summer could linger on. There is a desire for control, to dominate that which people cannot rule-- seasons and time. Dickinson draws on this universal desire, the desire to control what is beyond controlling, to create a point at which her audience can connect with the poem. People do not care about the seasons, they don't care for change. They certainly don't care for the things which the frost represents, namely the archetype of death. The frost may also represent an entombment, isolation and a prison keeping one from contact with the outside world.

Ironically, the endurance or end of a season is not optional for anyone. The poem unveils the fallacy of thinking that control is possible. In the first two lines Dickinson uses the familiar desire to resist change as the familiar point for her reader. In the last lines, however, a careful reading reveals the unexpected reversal-- people have no option but to accept the seasons. The speaker does not overtly state this, but rather uses a fallacy to set up the reader into suddenly remembering that the seaons will never be controlled by humans, and therefore humans are forever subject to its fullness, both in life and light of summer and the dark, death, and isolation of winter.

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