Frost and the Philosophical Emblem

“Design” was rather interesting to me, relating such creatures to religious moments. “…holding up a moth/Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth–” this was something that interested me.

The turn that I noticed in Frost’s poem was a description of setting in the first stanza, followed by questions or arguments. This I find to be more of a blatant turn than use if imagery and metaphor, but a little more thought provoking. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I enjoy this type of turn a little better than the turns in “The Chambered Nautilus”. Frost takes such care in describing a scene, and then completely rips it apart by questioning “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.” He turns his description of the spider and the moth into contemplation of creation and Divine design.

Philosophical turns, however subtle, take hold of my attention. In my opinion, that’s the kind of effect poetry should have on a reader: making them re-think the way they view the world and the things inside it.

2 Responses to “Frost and the Philosophical Emblem”

  1. simcity00 Says:

    I agree with your last paragraph. After I understood what the concept of the ’emblem’ poem was, I thought that it would be a cool and interesting way to write. Not only is the poet using imagery to create a scene but it is also using it to get across philosophical ideas or thoughts that the author wants to convey to the reader.

  2. stephroush Says:

    I also find the re-thinking an important part of what the emblem does. The chapter about emblem structure talks about all emblem poems being an argument, which creates a red flag for me. I start to think about the ways that immensity of our choice of subject matter will test me if I try the structure and there is always that danger of preaching. The freedom and space for philosophical inquiry is wonderful though and a very attractive approach.

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