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desert places by robert frost

This poem by Robert Frost is an excellent work in which the persona explores the surroundings and observes how they are likely to become a desert. Loneliness overwhelms him making him question his importance as a person. The poem has employed various stylistic devices such as imagery and metaphor.

The first instance where imagery is used is the use of the term snow in the desert. This serves the purpose of showing loneliness or separateness. This happens after the blanketing of the world, which covers not only what is seen but also what is heard. This results in a sense of isolation or cut off from the entire world. With the night falling after snowfall, isolation is more profound. The snow, in the poem, is all-encompassing, as is loneliness: in the poem, it covers the last marks of growth in fields as well as the animal habitats (Bieganowski, 1979). According to Frost, the situation will worsen before improving. “And lonely as it is that loneliness, Will be more lonely ere it will be less…”

Additionally, snow not only represents loneliness but also the inability of a person to communicate due to the loneliness. “With no expression, nothing to express.” However, despite Frost’s claims about snow and its representation of loneliness, he holds the winning or “trump” card. He further claims that he can beat the loneliness no matter the kind it is. The loneliness he feels surrounded by the snow does not frighten him neither does the empty sky and stars where no individual friendship can be found (Wang, 2013).

Nature in the form of quiet snow or quiet night cannot scare him since the “desert places” living within him daily have already scared him enough. This is a metaphor which means that the world of snow is not comparable to his reality in comparison (Wang, 2013). “I have it in me so much nearer home.” “To scare myself with my own desert place.”

Other than making the poem flow, imagery has also created a clear image of the persona’s life. It has been used to express the conditions that the persona had experienced and what he was experiencing. The imagery enriches the theme of suffering and harsh conditions in the desert and snow-covered world. Consequently, the styles have made the poem more overwhelming and exciting.


Bieganowski, R. (1979). Frost’s Desert Places. The Explicator38(1), 20-21.

Wang, L. (2013). An Artistic Analysis on Robert Frost’s Desert Places. Theory And Practice In Language Studies3(11).



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