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The Risk Of Frost

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Without technically altering the definition of the word “frost”, shifts in usage can give this word a new connotation. In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a simple act can bring about temporary effects on the mariner himself and on other people. The decision of the mouse in To a Mouse even has influences on an ongoing basis. Finally, the child in Jabberwocky makes his choice that leads to a noticeable impact in his entire life.

The concept of “frost” with respect to particular texts is a metaphor for accompanying consequences, which come out of one’s own decisions. One’s thoughtless action can result in catastrophic consequences. Because the mariner shoots the innocent albatross, the crew suffer horrible torments and eventually die of thirst in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798). Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge describes that on the sea, the “water, water, every where. /Nor any drop to drink”. A shortage of water occurs, causing everyone to die. The corpses “all uprose”, and “each cursed me with his eye”, according to the mariner. The dead sailors accuse the mariner of killing the albatross, implying that his guilt never fades away. When the mariner is saved, he decides to tell everyone his supernatural story. With this notion, Coleridge tells the readers that “and ever and anon throughout his future life, an agony constraineth him to travel from land to land”. Since “rime” is a synonym of “frost,” the whole poem is about the redemption and compensation of the ancient mariner for consequences of his own action. The consequences not only stay in the present, but also accompany the individual for his future life. One’s attitude toward his life determines his future. In the poem To a Mouse (1785), Robert Burns suggests that mice are allowed to steal food from farmers and live with husbandmen in harmony.

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Burns asserts that “but thou may thieve” (13), and those sneaky mice will subsequently have a safe and stable life ever after. Despite that, those mice are completely dependent on humans. Burns also offers an excellent example of a mouse constructing her own house. “That wee-bit heap o’s leaves an’ stibble has cost thee monie a weary nibble!’’ (31-32) according to To a Mouse. Although the house is crumbling and the mouse has to eventually suffer the frozen season, the winter, at least the mouse has tried. In contrast, the human in To a Mouse is afraid to make a change in his life. He accepts the way life is without striving for it, which is pathetic. However, people at different stages of life can experience different consequences. One’s choices can bring about different consequences in different ages throughout the life. Lewis Carroll depicts a teenager whose “vorpal blade went snicker-snack” (18) in Jabberwocky (1872). Although the father warns his son of the danger of Jabberwock, bearing the fear of failure, the son still walks into the unknown and slays the monster. This indicates a beginning of making one’s own decisions and experiencing failure and frustration in life.

At an earlier stage, parents help kids in every aspect, and a child takes no consequence. According to Jabberwocky, the father warns that “Beware the Jabberwock, my son” (5). The father is clearly unwilling to let go of his own child. A child depends on parents who prevent their child from being hurt. Interestingly, the season autumn, which is the setting of Jabberwocky, is generally acknowledged as a metaphor for teenagers. When autumn passes into winter, the juvenile has grown into an adult. That is also when a teenager goes out of the “shelter” into the society. The notion that choices create long-lasting effects leads adults to a more careful consideration of behaving in a sensible way. Life has always challenged humans and forced them to grow, and their growth can only be achieved by overcoming some consequences. The mariner remains in the present for his own guilt. The mouse manages the winter herself from the day she chooses to live on her own. Lastly, the son confronts some of the biggest challenges in his life. No matter what the consequences are, they have to accept them and get over them in order to move forward.


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