Study Guide

Fire and Ice Calling Card

By Robert Frost

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Calling Card

Simple on the Surface, Delightfully Complex Inside

Many of Frost's poems give an air of total simplicity, as if you always know exactly what he's talking about. This, of course, is an illusion. The more we at Shmoop read Frost, the more we realize how complex his poetry is. Some of most Frost's most popular and "accessible" poems are completely baffling upon closer inspection. For example, "The Road Not Taken" seems like a simple poem about a guy who comes to a fork in the road and decides to take the one "less traveled." But when you dig into the lines, the idea of a road "less traveled" becomes murky and confusing. How the heck does he know which one is less traveled, if they both look "about the same"? "Fire and Ice" poses similar problems. Namely, why would the world ever end "twice"? Also, does the poem suggest that ice is more powerful than fire? Less? Is there any way to compare these two forces? Do they interact? The list goes on and on.

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