The processes and impact of discovery can vary from individual to individual, taking into account the multifaceted nature of individual perceptions, perspectives and contexts. Robert Frost’s early 1910’s suite of poems, ‘Tuft of Flowers’, ‘Mending Wall’, and ‘Home Burial’ explores the progressions and influence of discovery on persona and the responder, both negative and positive, which are explored through the idea of humanity, isolation and solitude.
Discoveries are a platform for renewed perceptions which can be fresh and intensely meaningful which can stimulate new ideas which are represented in Roberts Frost’s ‘The Tuft of Flowers’ whereby the persona comes to a conclusion and makes the discovery all individuals are connected in some way or another and, further to do this, these connections are connections are transformative and impactful for individuals. Grounded in an isolated, natural setting, Frost from the personas perspective emphasises the manner in which isolation can have a positive impact on the processes of making discoveries.
This is emphasised in the beginning line of the poem, “and I must be as he had been-alone” where the negative connotations of ‘alone’ clearly emphasises the point the persona is pessimistic, depressed and feels isolated. One could argue that Frost employs caesura here purposefully, to emphasise the effects of ‘alone’ on the persona. However, the ‘alone’ changes when the persona introduces the ‘butterfly’ to the responder where catalyses to help the persona discover that all individuals are connected in some sort of way.
Frost’s alliterative and visual imagery ensures that the tall tuft of flower symbolise the connection between individuals who are inextricably drawn to them. It further allows him to discover the fact that all individuals are essentially connected, regardless of whether they are personally connected or distant from one another how far they are. The physical discovery of the persona’s journey to flowers highlights the fact that the tonal shift has occurred throughout the poem, making the persona optimistic. This clearly exhibits the fresh and intensely meaningful discovery being made by the persona.
Ultimately, to reinforce the point, Frost ends on a positive note that, “Men work together, whether they work together or apart”. This dialogue explicitly accentuates that the persona is no longer alone and have come to a self-realisation that every individual is connected in some way, allowing the persona to stimulate new ideas as a result of the fresh and meaningful discovery being made. Discoveries affirm and reaffirm our assumptions and beliefs by offering new experiences that attest to our conception of ourselves and the world.
This is reflected in Robert Frost’s poem ‘Mending Wall’ where the persona ultimately accepts his discovery of the inevitability and futility of barriers that separate individuals and, by association, humanity. This is exemplified through the strong visual imagery of, “two can pass abreast” to refer to the fact that the hole in the wall can allow these neighbours who have differing perspectives, to come together and pass through the wall, side-by-side. The indirect link to unity by not mending the “wall” is important as the personas idea is challenged by the nature.
This is reflective of the responder’s context as it challenges the widely held assumptions about human experience and the wider world. The idea is further stated intellectually in the poem where the, “gaps I mean” refers to the “walls”. The personal pronoun and the metaphor accentuate the “gap” in relationship between neighbours. It is important to note that the walls that bring the two people together and apart are not necessarily bad things as it allows space for privacy for self-reflection and human solitude.
This allows the persona to lead to renewed perceptions and the values upheld by the neighbour. This notion is further strengthened in the last line of the poem where the repetition of the adage, “Good fences make good neighbours” exemplifies that the ‘neighbour’ is not alone is not discovering anything new. It also inhibits human interaction as the persona questions the necessity of barriers. This implies that the ‘neighbour’ is firmly sticking to the traditions given to him by his “father”.
Moreover, the fact that traditions flow from one generation to another allows individual to build moral guidelines. Ultimately, the persona comes to a realisation that some beliefs can be everlasting and they cannot be changed which attest to our conception of ourselves and the world. It is often the case that renewed perceptions of ourselves and others can form the basis for an individual being confronted and challenged by differing perspectives. The male persona discovers the child’ death at the beginning of the poem which symbolises catalyses the ‘death’ of a couples marriage.
This is supported by, “no, from the time when one is sick to death, … and things they understand”. The cynical tone of this phrase exemplifies the conflict of understanding as their method of expressing grief is different to one another. This is strengthened by the truncated sentences and silted dialogue, “‘Just that I see. ’ ‘You don’t. ’ she challenged” where the responder realises that the man only discovers the physical purpose of Amy’s misery. The confronting nature of discovery allows the female persona to challenge the male personas perspective.
It is significant to note the physical structure of the poem with truncates sentences which emphasise the distance between the husband and wife whereby the husband has accepted the death of his child as he says, “little graveyard where my people are”. The negative connotation and allows the responder to realise that the male persona has discovered through a renewed perception. This also accentuates the conflict in their relationship as the male persona physically discovers instead of emotionally like Amy.
Ultimately, the natural imagery of “fresh earth” suggests that nature is not always pleasant as it is the source of life and death, hence allowing the responder to come to a realisation about relationships how gendered sense of misunderstanding creates a barrier between individuals. Ultimately, Frost discusses how the process and impacts of discovery can differ with individuals through his employment of poetry to allow the reader to evoke their perspective on humanity, isolation and solitude.