Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Design By Robert Frost. Design I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Design By Robert Frost. Design I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--"— Presentation transcript:

1 Design By Robert Frost

2 Design I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth-- Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Like the ingredients of a witches' broth-- A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth, And dead wings carried like a paper kite. What had that flower to do with being white, The wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night? What but design of darkness to appall?-- If design govern in a thing so small. The poem is a sonnet, a 14 line poem divided into two stanzas: an 8 line octet and a 6 line concluding sestet. In the octet, the poet lays out the dramatic situation; he paints a picture in our minds of an unusual situation he observed in nature. In the sestet, he comments on the image, explaining its significance.

3  I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, The connotation of the words used to describe the spider is unexpected: dimpled, fat and white make us think of babies, not spiders

4  On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth-- The heal-all is usually blue and is thought to be able to heal a number of maladies The fact that it’s white is out of the ordinary Moths are usually white

5 Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Notice the word “right,” which sounds like the word “rite.” The poet tells us what to think of the three items listed by labeling them “assorted characters of death and blight.”

6 Like the ingredients of a witches' broth-- Now the pun on right/rite makes sense.

7 A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth, And dead wings carried like a paper kite. The flower “like a froth” continues the witches’ brew image..

8 What had that flower to do with being white, The wayside blue and innocent heal-all? Note the emphasis on white with its connotations of purity. “Wayside” suggests something that’s found by the way, just scattered randomly by the side of the road. “Innocent” is, of course, another word wth a connotation of goodness rather than evil There’s irony in the name of the flower—it doesn’t “heal- all.” Whereas the octet of the sonnet sets up the dramatic situation, the sestet, the last six lines, doesn’t explain the meaning of the opening picture, but rather asks a series of questions.

9  What brought the kindred spider to that height, The spider is “kindred,” to the flower in color, certainly, but the word suggests that we’re meant to wonder how else. The question implies that the randomness suggested by “wayside” in the previous line isn’t random at all, that there’s a force behind these three unlikely things coming together.

10  Then steered the white moth thither in the night? The word “steered” reinforces the sense of a power behind these actions.

11 What but design of darkness to appall?— If design govern in a thing so small. Understanding Frost’s final point relies on understanding the argument of design proving God’s existence. We see the same argument today as “intelligent design,” the idea that the world is too ordered and logical to have occurred randomly, that there must be an intelligence behind the design of it. But the apparent cruel randomness of this particular design calls into question the nature of the designer. The white moth should have been safe on the white flower, which shouldn’t have been white anyway—it’s normally blue. The poet offers two explanations. First, he wonders if the designer is dark, pulling these three things together in some kind of malicious glee. Note the word “appall.” The second explanation is even darker, which is the idea that God isn’t dark, but rather indifferent, uninterested in controlling “a thing so small” the suggestion being that the bad things that happen truly are just random.

12 Web Resources ntary04.htm eb/frodesan.html


Download ppt "Design By Robert Frost. Design I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google