Tony Monroy Literature 9/28/07

Poetry Analysis Freedom is one of the fundamental and founding principles of The United States of America. Freedom is also one of the major themes of American poetry because of its meaning to America. One of the many viewpoints of Freedom is individualism, which is that rights, duty, and freedom originate in the individual. A contradicting viewpoint is that Freedom is communal meaning that it is not about the individual, Robert Frost in “Mending Wall” displays that the idea of Freedom is not individualistic rather it is communal. Similarly, Henry David Thoreau’s “I am a Parcel of vain strivings tied” illustrates Freedom as limited whereas Wallace Steven’s “Idea of Order at Key West” presents Freedom as boundless. Frost’s “Mending Wall” displays the idea of communal Freedom through the scene where the wall withers away by a nature and a supernatural presence. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boundaries with sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast” (1-4). The wall is withering because it is not natural for the wall to be there dividing the property. Therefore, nature itself is tearing down the wall over time because man should not be divided rather man should live freely with others. In addition, Frost also displays the idea of communal freedom by the having the wall divide him from his neighbor and his neighbor’s yard. “ And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between once again. We keep the wall between us as we go” ( 13-15). Frost states twice here that the wall is between him and

Tony Monroy Literature 9/28/07

the neighbor because Frost is emphasizing that the wall divides him from the neighbor and vice versa. Frost later sates this dividing wall is not needed because there is nothing on either side of the wall that could escape or needs containment. “ There where it is we do not need the wall; He is all pine and I am apple orchard My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines” (23-26) The wall is a hindrance instead of being of assistance. It contains the neighbor in his area where he is free to pursue his own desires and make his own world, but with the wall intact, the neighbor is cut off from the rest of the world. Another display of communal Freedom in Frost’s “Mending Wall” is where the poet considers “Good fences make good neighbors” (45). Frost considers “ Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out And to whom I was like to give offense” (30-34) Again, Frost presents the image of the wall without purpose. Thoreau’s “ Parcel” is similar to Frost’s “Mending Wall” by the depiction of higher powers that render Freedom limited and Man without control over the world. An example of this is found in lines 7-12 “ A bunch of Violets without their roots… Encircled by a wisp of straw Once coiled about their roots…..” Certain laws that represent the limitations of Freedom are binding the plants that represent people. Thoreau is illustrating that man is not free to do whatever he/she wants because there are certain higher powers or laws that govern the world. Furthermore, in lines 13-15 Thoreau illustrates

Tony Monroy Literature 9/28/07

limited freedom by having the flower plucked from its field and placed in bouquet. “ A nosegay( flower bouquet) which Time clutched from out Those fair Elysian fields With weeds and broken stems.” Thoreau is revealing that man is not entirely free to do what they want because the flower did not want to be plucked. In addition, the flower has gone from minding its own business to dwelling with other flowers in the bouquet. Thoreau is using this image to portray a movement from individualism to being in a communal situation where although limited freedom still exists. These elements bear a resemblance to the elements of Frost’s “Mending Wall” where the wall withers because of its violation upon nature’s laws and the higher force. In addition the resemblance is found in In sharp contrast, Steven’s “Idea of Order” presents the idea of Individualism through

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