Study Guide

Neither Out Far Nor in Deep Life, Consciousness, and Existence

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Life, Consciousness, and Existence

Since those folks along the sand look deep in thought, it's safe to assume that the meaning of life is gonna play a role in "Neither Out Far Nor In Deep." But the poem isn't necessarily looking to define life and existence for us. Rather the speaker appears to point out that we waste too much time thinking about what it all means rather than living the life that's right in front of us.

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. What do you think the speaker thinks the meaning of life is? Or does he even care?
  2. How do the lines, "they cannot look out far" and "they cannot look in deep" relate to life's mysteries? What's the speaker saying about the deeper truths we seek?
  3. What's so important about that solitary standing gull? Is it symbolic of the ways we tend to live our lives? How so?
  4. Why is the sea such an important symbol for life's mysteries? And why are the people so mesmerized by the sea and what it appears to symbolize?

Chew on This

Life may be a gigantic sea of mysteries, but it's not worth wasting all our time on land thinking about them since we can't "look out far" and "look in deep." To put it simply: why bother?

In Frost's poem, the more we try to understand life, the more it seems we forget about being alive and human.

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