Q:

What is meaning of Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice"?

A:

Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice" discusses the question of whether the end of the world will come in ice or fire, and while that question is part of the meaning, so is the question as to whether cold or heat is the more painful, not just in terms of destruction but also emotion and pain. It is possible to explore the difference between the two on a number of levels based on the text of his poem.

Frost combines the feelings of wrath, humor, isolation, reserve and bluntness all in a very short poem. It seems that the goal of the poem is to come up with an aphorism, or witty saying, which will answer the ultimate question. The concise, even terse pace of the poem stands in stark contrast with the abstract seriousness of the topic. While the words themselves are powerful, the inclusion of that text in this poetic form is what converts them into bullets. The juxtaposition of short, staccato lines with longer preceding lines builds the tension that the poem needs at the end. The ultimate outcome is a poem that tersely treats a difficult question about the end of the world, and does so in a tightly wound, powerful composition.


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