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Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay
Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...
Form and Meter
Blank Verse (Mostly Unrhymed, Iambic Pentameter)Frost writes this poem in blank verse, meaning that it doesn't rhyme (sad), but that it does have interesting structure stuff going on. The poem loos...
We get the sense that the speaker is an older man who is experienced and wistful. He grew up before 1900, and the world at large is changing. However, he's managed to live in a pocket of the United...
The setting of "Birches" is not explicitly given, so we have license, as readers, to use our imagination. Here's one way that we envision the setting, but feel free to come up with your own.It's a...
Although Frost wrote some formal and conservative verse, with clear rhyme schemes, he's not known for that kind of poetry. Rather, Frost liked to imitate the sound of regular or rural speech. When...
What's Up With the Title?
"Birches" has deceptively simple name. It doesn't fill your head with huge ideas about nature or life. But the poem itself does address these kinds of ideas. The title introduces one thing –...
Old Man and Young BoyA lot of readers tend to associate Frost with older age. Most photos that you'll see of Robert Frost were taken when he was an older man. Frost has a large number of poems abou...
(3) Base CampThe tough part about "Birches" is following the narrative. For the first read-through you might not have any idea what it means to swing a tree. Also, if you've never spent time in a c...
Poet Ezra Pound helped Frost get his start in England. (Source)
GSome ladies out sunning has the potential to get steamy, but "Birches" doesn't go in this direction. It's more Little House on the Prairie style.
Literary and Philosophical ReferencesEmily Dickinson (Line 13)Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Line 13)
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