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The Wood-Pile

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  1. Introduction.
  2. An idiomatic phrase holding a sense of contradiction between interiority and exteriority.
  3. Explanation and analyzation of the important phrases and lines.
  4. Woodpile as the symbol of the necessary equilibrium that man respects between his work and that of nature.
  5. Conclusion.

Frost presents to us here a rather enigmatic poem. Upon a first contemplation the reader may experience the feeling that he has read a poem about nothing, and may read and re-read it, endeavoring to discover some hidden meaning. And indeed ?The Wood-Pile? is virtually about nothing, a blatant illustration of Frost's delight at saying the ordinary thing and discovering that it is art. From the opening hesitation to the apparition of a ?small bird' guiding the speaker towards ?a pile of wood', which provokes in the speaker's mind contemplations about the ?someone' responsible for abandoning the woodpile, very little action takes place and the poem can be considered more as a meditation than a dramatic narrative, simply offering the soliloquy of a lone figure walking in a winter landscape. Frost purposefully seeks the reader's awareness of this peculiar progression in his narrative. Let us then analyze in the same order as Frost suggests.

[...] The woodpile thus becomes the symbol of the necessary equilibrium and synergy that man must respect between his work and that of nature. The end of the description of the woodpile gives way to a meditation on the author of the woodpile itself, a woodcutter which undoubtedly intrigues and fascinates the speaker: thought that only/ Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks/ Could so forget his handiwork on which/ He spent himself?. In his mind it is evident and unquestionable that the man responsible for this abandoned woodpile is one who delights simply in the fact of exercising a well-done job. [...]

[...] By the particular attention he donates to the bird, the speaker immediately identifies with it as a symbolic representation of his long awaited spiritual flight, which is apparent through the intense personification of the bird, establishing it as a veritable personage. The speaker responds immediately to the bird's new presence by recognizing it as a dramatic projection of his own fearfulness. In the following lines, the bird's activity adds a horizontal dimension to the speaker's growing spatial consciousness, contrasting with the previously overpowering vertical imagery. [...]

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