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Analysis and comments on Design by Robert Frost

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Comment 18 of 568, 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 568, 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

Comment 16 of 568, added on April 6th, 2007 at 4:48 PM.

" The wayside blue and innocent heal-all"? This complex sentence to me says
even if every living thing stays on the right path, life itself makes us do
wrong to something or someone. Therefore every living thing needs to be
forgivin. No matter the kind of living creature.

Mary from United States
Comment 15 of 568, added on March 28th, 2006 at 6:16 AM.

The meaning of white shifts from a pure, innocent and good one to that of a
darker side. The spider being white is of little relative significance as
compared to the flower being white and the moth being described as a white
piece of rigid satin cloth. The heal-all does not occur naturally; a
genetic defect is present. The poet also asks "what did that flower have to
do with being white", which is ironic because flowers, like humans, cannot
change their colour on the outside. The white satin is connotated to the
motif of death, as it is found in coffins.

On a more personal note, I did truly enjoy the poem. The question as to the
designer's nature is rather open to the reader to interpret, and the reader
is provocated to think because if the disturbing nature of the event
rendered. However, some may see this simply as nature in its course
(predatory relationships) and dismiss it, but as for me, I find it
interesting to wonder about this philosophical and hypothetical theme of

Chua Hsieh Wen from Singapore
Comment 14 of 568, added on February 5th, 2006 at 6:05 PM.

the poem is about god and his greater plan. It is a paradoxical poem. The
first stanza is explaining the spider and the heal-all and everything as
white. The second stanza is a series of questions. if you'll notice the
line that mentions "...darkness could appall" there is the sudden mention
of darkness. The white spider is simple, and doing nothing wrong, but he
is part of the darker plan. He cannot control himself; it lies in God.

emily from United States
Comment 13 of 568, added on January 17th, 2006 at 5:24 PM.

I think that those views are all good, but when I read the poem I got a bit
of a different perspective about it. When I read the line
What had that flower to do with being white,
I sat there and asked myself what did the flower to do with being white,
why does he ask this?--then I thought
hey maybe it's all in the design... the spider's design, the spider's evil
design....I think that it was the spider's design/plan to go to the white
flower, because the spider himself was white (therefore the spider was
camoflauged)and he knew that the white flower was rare and attractive to
the moth so there was more chance of the moth going to that flower.I think
that thats what the flower had to do with being white.
and I think that in the lines
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.
It seems like he's saying if such design govern in a thing so small (as a
spider), just think of the evil design that could exist in greater things.
Thats just what came to mind when I read it.

Marrah from United States
Comment 12 of 568, added on December 19th, 2005 at 11:24 AM.

NOT BAd i liked how frost displays da spyder

JIMMY from United States
Comment 11 of 568, added on December 11th, 2005 at 7:43 PM.

HAHA, none of you myopic poetry psychos regognized the inverted sonnet form
the poem is written in. This shows that frost is trying to convey the
"inverted" nature of...nature. Further proof that poetry is too abstract
and intentionally vague to be a real art form.

Comment 10 of 568, added on November 29th, 2005 at 12:44 AM.

This poem is reflective. It makes fearful images to life and turns
negative images arround to a positive one. Nice poem!

Sherwin from United States
Comment 9 of 568, added on October 25th, 2005 at 12:18 AM.

This poem was written at the time when the concept of divine "design" was
prevalent; this "design" is the ultimate control over life and death.
Robert Frost, by portraying this gruesome scene of a spider devouring a
moth as a beautiful, natural phenomenon, denies this concept and conveys
his message that everything happens spontaneously and without any "design"
behind it.

Gina from United States

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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Information about Design

Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: Design
Volume: A Further Range
Year: 1936
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 3816 times
Poem of the Day: Sep 14 2006

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