Birches by Robert Frost is a poem which talks about how one must escape from reality for some time, only to return to it later. In the poem, the author discusses the topic of birch trees and how they bend after an ice storm. In his imagination, the birches are being bent by a boy who has been “swinging” them. The author prefers his imagination over the truth. The poem tries to tell the reader about balancing truth and imagination. Sometimes a person needs to escape from the harsh reality of the world, and they can only do that through their thoughts, but eventually, the person must face the truth. The poem also compares earth and heaven, and how a person can escape the difficulties of life on earth by dying and going to heaven, but if they want to fully live and enjoy their lives, they must remain on earth. The poem is very thought provoking, and encourages the reader to think about their views on life and death, and reality and imagination, which are intriguing topics. The poem uses a lot of figurative language, which makes it more understandable and relatable to the reader.
The poem Birches uses figurative language such as metaphors, imagery, and personification to help the reader understand the point the author is trying to make. In the poem, the author states that he would “like to go by climbing a birch tree, […] toward heaven”. Climbing the birch tree is a metaphor for striving towards imagination and life away from earth, just like in reality, when one climbs a tree they get further away from earth. Imagery is used when the author states, “soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells, shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust.” The use of imagery helps the reader to visualize how the ice falls from the birches, and how heavy it must be to cause an “avalanche”. This helps the reader understand how after the storm, the birch trees bend because of the weight of all the ice. This can also be a metaphor for the troubles of the world weighing down on a person’s imagination and freedom. The poem uses personification when it refers to truth, for example the author states, “when Truth broke in, with all her matter-of-fact […]”. The truth is compared to a person who abruptly ends the careless thoughts of a person’s imagination. The poem uses figurative language to effectively communicate the theme, and to make the poem more relatable to the reader.
The poem Birches expresses philosophical views about life and is effective in capturing the reader’s attention. The poem compares the differences between imagination and truth, and earth and heaven. While sometimes it is better to pick one over the other, a person must have a balance of both to experience a happy life. One can escape earth and reality and strive towards death and heaven, but to be happy they must also remain on earth and live their lives. At the same time, one’s imagination provides a great escape from the difficulties and troubles of the world. The poem uses figurative language to describe these ideas in an interesting way. It uses birch trees, and the climbing or “swinging” of them to symbolize the path between earth and heaven, truth and imagination. Birches by Robert Frost is a thought provoking poem that is easy to read because of the use of literary devices.
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