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Analysis and comments on Design by Robert Frost

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Comment 26 of 566, added on September 21st, 2009 at 2:28 PM.

I think that the line "a snow drop spider, a flower like a froth,'shows the
spider to be something unsubstantial and trivial. The spider, I think
represents god as a being not needed and debatable; either the deciaions he
is said to make or whether he exists or not.

Emmanuelle from Ireland
Comment 25 of 566, added on April 30th, 2009 at 10:21 PM.

What it seems that everyone is not thinking of is Frost's question about
the existence of God, which the poem is truely about. There is the first
question on whether there is a God or higher being at all and then the
question that if there is, how does he plan such small insignificant things
out (such as bugs). The ambiguity comes into play with the way Frost
answers the question. Frost shows strong belief that there is a God
throughout the poem. Yet, Frost also shows that there could be no God and
that creatures have free will.

I have to say that I didn't like the poem the first time I read it, but as
I began to analyze it, I was truely astounded by this poem and I now find
myself constantly thinking about it. I have began to wonder about such
things myself, which shows that the poem is great, because the author's
purpose is to make you think about the theme they bring about in their
poem.

I would definitely recommend this poem to anyone.

Pickle from United States
Comment 24 of 566, added on February 27th, 2009 at 8:02 AM.

The problem with all of your assumptions is that the poem is not about
innocence, this is poem is an ironic piece because he uses the differences
between a heal all and death. The person looking at the spider is confused
and does not understand how it got there. The last four lines of this
hybrid sonnet are questions that do not have answers.(aka rhetorical
questions)

Jeff from United States
Comment 23 of 566, added on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:56 AM.

I think this poem is really interesting...you all seem to have really good
points, especially you, chua hsieh wen. :) good job! :) :) :)

Sarah Park from United States
Comment 22 of 566, added on May 13th, 2008 at 8:51 PM.

This poem means innocence of a child. He wonders how things work and why
things appears the way they do.

allen from Canada
Comment 21 of 566, added on February 7th, 2008 at 2:41 AM.

Honestly, I do not see "God's" design in this as some previous comments
have mentioned. Based on the contextual evidence, or the literal lines on
the poem, I have yet to see any biblical allusions aside from, perhaps, the
title of "Design." It's almost stretching it to say that there is anything
biblical in this poem when nothing of the sort is mentioned in the lines.
Because of this, I'm not quite sure I can agree that Frost is criticizing
God.

What I found was that the speaker of this poem was questioning "what
design" would cause such events to happen. The heal-all, which is a flower
that is /supposed/ to be blue, is white. Not only that, but it concealed a
spider, which is usually thought of to be black or some other color. The
spider, which seems to have evil connotations, is the color of purity and
innocence: white. The fact that this discolored flower hid a strangely
colored spider is strange enough. The fact that a white moth, thinking that
it would be concealed by the whiteness of the heal-all, is killed by a
spider already hidden in that flower is horribly ironic.

The speaker then questions what "design" there is that could cause all this
to happen. The timing is almost too perfect for the heal-all to change its
color into white, the spider to be white, and for a white moth to come
over. The poem line "...witches' broth" connotes that he believes that some
sort of otherworldy, dark magic could've made such events occur. But he is
unsure as to what exactly this design is. He questions it because it is so
out of place. In the ending lines "What but design of darkness to appall?-
If design govern in a thing so small" he continues to question what design
of darkness could work even in something so small like this event. What
"design" made the flower white, "brought the kindred spider to that
height," and "steered the white moth" there all at the same time? The
speaker questions what dark design there is that could govern in something
so small as well as in other things.

Anonymous
Comment 20 of 566, added on September 9th, 2007 at 9:52 PM.

It appears that Robert Frost is challenging the “argument from design” with
respect to it’s use as proof of God’s existence. Frost seems to ask the
question why a benevolent, loving god would design the world the way it is
with the existence of evil and darkness, as represented by the spider’s
mindless pursuit of the helpless moth. He sees this “designed” behavior as
arising from an appalling darkness, if indeed design
does govern in a thing so small. By the same token, one might ask why we
humans will bash a cow in the head with a maul in order to kill it and eat
its delectable carcass! There is no denying that survival of the most fit
is an operating principle in nature, and asking why God chose such an order
is as hopeless as asking why there was such a thing as a singularity before
space, matter and time came into being with the theoretical “Big Bang.” It
appears that we poets will be asking unanswerable questions as long as
there is life, and its beauty and enigma that inspires great poetry!



art chapman from United States
Comment 19 of 566, added on May 27th, 2007 at 4:42 PM.

what do u think this poem means? what was robert frost trying to convey to
us when he wrote this? is it supposed to be about good and evil, nature
and the food chain, or what? i have always wondered so someone please help
me out...thanks

Tim Cusick from United States
Comment 18 of 566, added on May 1st, 2007 at 4:01 AM.

Very nice and meaningful poem, really enhoyed it. The repeated use of
'white' conveys a lot of meaning.

Tituba from Barbados
Comment 17 of 566, added on April 7th, 2007 at 2:58 AM.

Mary, "the way-side blue and innocent heal-all" is the flower "Brunella."
(I tried including a link to it here but it triggered the spam filter.)

He is marveling over having found an aberrant one that is white. It may
afford depper metaphors, but trust me -- he wonders why it's white and not
blue.

ea

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Information about Design

Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: Design
Volume: A Further Range
Year: 1936
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 3234 times
Poem of the Day: Sep 14 2006


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