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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"Design" is a very impressive sonnet. A sonnet is a poem composed of fourteen lines that usually develops some sort of argument and has a shift or turn in it (the technical term for this turn is th...

Speaker

The speaker could be Frost himself, but that's always a dangerous assumption, Shmoopers. Just because you see "I" doesn't mean that we're looking at a diary entry. Whoever the speaker is, we know t...

Setting

The setting of the poem, like the theme itself, is very small. The speaker is looking back on a tiny memory, one that he would have forgotten long ago if it hadn't been so bizarre. All the action o...

Sound Check

Frost's form matches the content of his poem. He is writing about the intricate designs of a divine creator and so he writes with a very precise sense of control over his language. That comes throu...

What's Up With the Title?

The poem itself is so small, both literally and in terms of its content. It's about an itsy-bitsy spider, a flower, and a moth. Thanks to the title, though, we know immediately that we are talking...

Calling Card

This looks like a weird category, but bear with us. Everything about this poem is sneaky. The title seems simple but blows up into a debate over the nature of the universe. The poem starts with a s...

Tough-o-Meter

The poem really is simple enough, especially the first stanza. It is narrative in form, so we can follow along pretty easily. It gets some credit on the Tough-O-Meter scale for the Shakespeare allu...

Trivia

There's a reason Frost was a little suspicious about the design of the universe. His life was filled with tragedy. He lost both parents early in life and only two of his six children outlived him....

Steaminess Rating

There's some decent spider-on-bug violence in here, if you are looking for something to get worked up about. And, yes, it does call into question both the existence of goodness and of God. But that...

Allusions

Macbeth (6): In the poem Frost gives a shout-out to Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth. It's logical that he would choose to reference the play, as it is about a man who hears his fortune tol...
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