The Environment In Robert Frost's Desert Places

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4. The environment in "Desert Places" closely reflects and resembles the narrator, Robert Frost, and his character. Robert Frost is famously known to have struggled with severe depression and anxiety, and anyone who has experienced it knows that it feels as if a piece of you is dead or dying and the isolation and loneliness felt while struggling through it is profoundly crushing. In literature and poetry, the season of winter, as described with winter imagery to represent societal pressures in "Desert Places," represents death, pain, despair and loneliness as winter is season in which plants die and people stay indoors, isolated from each other. The icy, desolate environment in "Desert Places" reflects part of Frost 's character, his struggle…show more content…
The narrator sees the weather as neither good or bad, but something that one can possibly identify with, which can be detrimental, as he seems to be warning against associating human misery to the winter season, and instead view it as it actually is. He implies that the winter weather and people 's attitudes towards it change based on their perspectives. The line, "One must have a mind of winter/ To regard the frost and the boughs..." And the last stanza, "For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds/ Nothing that is not there and nothing that is", both but emphasis on the individual resisting association between their own emotions and actually seeing the weather as it is. This attitude is similar, yet different that the first narrator 's attitude towards the weather of Starkfield early in the book. The narrator often draws similarities between the harsh winter climate of Starkfield and the perspectives and attitudes that the characters hold due in part to the environment, most prominently the dead and passion-less expressions and mannerisms of the people, as highlighted by the narrator in the prologue when he states that, "One would have supposed that such an atmosphere must quicken the emotions as well as the blood; but it seemed to produce no change except that of retarding still more the sluggish pulse of Starkfield", (p. 13), indicating that the suffocating winter, despite having bursts of light from a blue sky, dictated how the people…show more content…
The last line, "Nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is", highlights two kinds of "nothing". First, within the context of the first part of the last stanza that reads, "For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds", Stevens is indicating that the listener, the observer of winter who sees it with cold detachment, i.e. "having a mind of winter" will now see winter without projecting his own sadness or feelings onto the landscape, therefore seeing "nothing that is not there" as their own emotions are no longer associated with the weather. By doing this, the observer can now behold "the nothing that is", seeing the barren winter landscape as the empty, emotionless place it truly is and not as a reflection of
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