Empty Spaces, You're No Match for Me.

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So the whole time I was reading Frost's "Desert Places" all I could think about was why is the speaker out in the middle of a snowstorm to begin with, especially when the speaker feels so lonely? I don't know about you, but if I get lonely the last place I'm going to go out into is a snowstorm. That just seems like you're purposefully trying to be lonely or perhaps have a death wish.

The best line though was probably, "They cannot scare me with their empty spaces" (13) because I never really thought about snow having empty spaces or a "nothing[ness] to express" (11). Unfortunately, line 13 continues to show that the speaker is more afraid of the emptiness that the snow presents rather than reinforce that the speaker is not afraid of it. Furthermore, "To scare myself with my own desert places" (16) only serves to restate what was already said in line 13. Maybe Frost did this to make sure the reader really understands that the speaker didn't feel a connection with the snow. Either way, was the ending line really necessary since the reader should have been able to figure all of this out from the rest of the poem?

2 Comments

Josie Rush said:

Heh. You and Kayla say the same thing about the oddity of seeking out a lonely place when a person is lonely. You guys could probably get a discussion going on the stupidity of that practice if you wanted.
The last line I thought was necessary, though I agree a lot of this poem was redundant. I think the last line is the revelation that Frost's empty place is inside of himself. Everything else was describing an outside world (which was a kind of obvious metaphor, granted), but this comes out and states what he's been alluding to previously; that as lonely as his surroundings are, he is even more isolated.
Was it a necessary line? Eh, I guess that's hard to answer, because, well, what do we really mean by "necessary"? I think most people in our class grasped the metaphor w/o this last line, but maybe this line was the kicker for others. Also, there may have been emotional value in that particular ending for some people (obviously for Frost himself), and taking it away would ruin the poem.

Melissa Schwenk said:

Josie, you're probably right. Maybe the last line is particularly important to some readers or even Frost, but it still seems annoying that Frost thought he had to wrap it up that way. Or maybe Frost just really wanted to make sure that the reader stepped away remembering what the poem was about, and felt the only way to really remember it was by the last line. I'm not sure though, beacuse what do we know?

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