English Literature: Robert Frost - Analysis of The Tuft of Flowers

This video presents an analysis of Robert Frost's poem The Tuft of Flowers. This page is intended to give additional details of the analysis that are not contained in the video.

Robert Frost - Analysis of The Tuft of Flowers

Various techniques are used by Frost within the poem to create certain effects within the poem. Consider this line:

And I must be, as he had been,--alone,

This line employs a dependent clause to set the narrator and the mower apart from each other and the ending word "alone." This is used to create the feeling of separation and loneliness within the text. A similar effect is created in the central repeated line with a different technique:

'Whether they work together or apart.'

Here, there is a feminine rhyme between the words "whether" and "together." This weaker rhyme pulls this part of the line together and separates it from the words "or apart." Frost uses this to join the feelings of togetherness and separation in this line, similar to the spacing of the lines in the poem.

The feminine rhyme also creates a cadence to the poem which is appropriate the end of the poem. In the fifth couplet, serves to make something of a complete poem of the first five couplets. This the narrator's first conclusion before he rethinks everything.

Two couplets serve to indicate the narrator's search for companionship and meaning. These couplets, in the first and second sections, present parallels in the narrator's search for meaning. The first one is a physical search for the mower and the second is a mental search for meaning, represented by the butterfly.

I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.

And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.

These two couplets present the different aspects of the narrator's search within the first half of the poem.