Robert Frost's Range-Finding

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA

Part 1: Scansion and Analysis

Frosts' convictions are depicted in the poem by the sonnet's generic elements, which include the rhyme scheme, metaphors, figures of expression, meter, composition, and shape. The first metaphor is expressed by the poem's title, Range-Finding. This is a tactic used by warriors or the military to gain a strategic edge and shoot a weapon with the greatest accuracy. According to this, the speaker seems to be drawing his audience's attention to the fact that the war was not perfect and necessitated several corrections in order to prevent errors. The poem has two stanzas whereby Frost uses insects to symbolize human affairs. "…still the bird revisited her young," he seems to state the nature of humans to persist and continue to work even situations such as a war.
Every stanza has a regular rhyme scheme of abba abba ccad deffe. This is not a common rhyme scheme, especially for a sonnet poem. It also uses a fourteen-line rhyme scheme safe for the last part of the poem. It also adheres to the grammar syntax and as mentioned above, the author uses metaphors all through the poem. The punctuation is also conventional as complete sentences are ended with a full stop and also punctuated with commas. The poem's organization describes a continuous event of a shooter finding his or her range until the gun is fired and causes a series of reactions.

Part 2: Explication

Frosts uses nature as a point of view, he uses it to describe the violence of war. The poem depicts how war is able to affect anything and everything around it. The ‘battle' stated in the poem could be referring to an actual military war. The reason for this is that the poem was written in 1916 which was during World War I. As mentioned above, the author uses symbolism to depict the effect of the war. In the poem, a bullet from a shooter tears a cobweb, cuts through a flower, and is meant for a human's chest. The flower falls but the bird goes on with its journey to its young while the spider rushes out thinking there is a fly trapped in its web but when it finds nothing it retreats. These events clearly portray events that occur in the human world and their effects. The metaphor such as "a wheel of thread / And straining cables wet with silver dew," infer the inventions and technology witnessed in the society. Symbols such as the spider webs and the flowers are things that can be considered naturally beautiful and therefore used to demonstrate how there is nothing good that could result from the war but only brutality and destruction.
Moreover, the author takes into account the conflict and overlapping limits between human nature and other living things including plants and insects. During human experiences such as wars, their actions affect the environment around them. The poem conveys a condescending mood as the author seems to portray the futility of a war and how the action sets off a chain reaction especially in nature. A flower, a bird, spider, and a butterfly are disturbed and dispossessed by the gunshot. Frosts expresses how the life-design is more elemental and instinctual than human beings consider it to be. For instance, when the spider mistakes the bullet for a fly and rushes out, the spider can possibly see man's actions as reductive and could ignore the distinctive human worth.
The subject of the poem is aggression and this can be seen from the intent of both the spider and the soldier. The spider can be considered innocent as its aggression is due to its predatory instinct which is in its nature. This nature dictates that it has to take life in order to gain more life whereas in the case of man the wars have no such intention only destruction. The poem also depicts the nature of the war and the war of nature. As mentioned above, the nature of a war is destructive. As humans go about their war, nature is also struggling with a war of its own. The ‘bird' has to visit and ensure the safety of its young, the flower has to bloom, and the spider has to find food. However, Frosts mainly intended to show how man's actions were hindering nature. He also uses nature because its beauty can be used to contrast the ugly reality of wars. The first thing that can be noted in the poem is the diamond depiction that spangles the spider's web. The looks and worth of the diamond are meaningless to the spider, these designs express human worths and how they are transient in regards to the life-design of the spider that is a representation of a simple and more enduring embodiment of nature.

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