Andy Zhang

Essay 2-Poetry Explication

April 12, 2020

Prof. Scanlan, ENG 1121


             In the poem, “Fire and Ice,” by Robert Frost, the speaker first starts by setting the poem in a conversational tone of anaphora. The speaker uses the anaphora of “Some say” as two different sides to create antithesis on whether the world would end in Fire or Ice. Next, the speaker jumps from the argument and indicates that “fire” is connotated as “desire”, and “Ice” is connotated as hate. Then, the speaker shares his preference between “Fire and Ice”. Due to the speakers’ limited personal experience, the speaker would personally more prefer “Fire” over “Ice”. lastly, while the speaker decides to side with “fire” the speaker also emphasizes that “Ice” is also equally “great” with “Fire”. The argument of the poem develops from lines 1 and 2, “Some say the world will end in fire/ Some say in ice.”; where the speaker presents the argument of the topic on how the world is going to end from two different sides, some Fire and some Ice. These two lines specifically represent the poetry elements of anaphora, antithesis, metaphor, and the indication of desire, and hate from denotation of Fire, and Ice.

            In lines 1-2, “Some say the world will end in fire/ Some say in ice.” the speaker uses the poetry element anaphora, the repetition phrase of “Some say” to develop the division between the two groups or side of people. Where one side believes that the world will end in “Fire” and the opposing group believes that the world will end in “Ice”. Moreover, anaphora also helps develop the casual conversational tone between two sides that underplays the seriousness of the topic of how the world will end. The division developed by anaphora between fire and ice also helps elaborate the poetry element Antithesis, the contradistinction of Fire and Ice; where the Fire is contrasted with the Ice, and the speaker’s connotation of fire and ice; desire is contrasted with hatred. Lastly, this is when the last poetry element comes in play; metaphor. The speaker trope Fire as to desire, and Ice as to Hatred. Desire and Hatred applied emotional feelings to Fire and Ice to impose the latent attributes of personification to Fire and Ice.

             From lines 1-2, the phrase “Some say” is connoted as two groups of people that have a different view on how the world is going to end. In the poem, “Fire”, the combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke, is connotated as “desire”, a strong feeling to have something, or wishing for something to happen. Both fire and desire have common powerful positive and negative attributes. They both are representative of destruction. Where the fire is physically destructive, one tiny spark is enough to destroy something that is ten times, a hundred times, immense than itself. And desire, the impact and result of strong, and uncontrollable emotion in a human can be very unstable, and destructive. While on the other hand, in regards to it’s harmful and destructive power, fire is also portrayed as hope, warmth when it is in stable condition; and so is desire. When it is implied with positive attributes like kind, helpful, caring emotion. Lastly, “Ice”, the primary definition of ice is described as frozen water, a brittle transparent crystalline solid. In the poem “Ice” is connotated as “hatred”, an intense dislike, or ill will. Both Ice and Hatred share a couple of common characteristics; the characteristic of rigidity, and frigidity. while Ice displays rigidity and frigidity through the coldness it has from inside out physically, Hatred reveals the absence of love and rigidity from inside and out due to the intense dislike it has toward its foe. Disregard that Ice is connotated as hatred, it can also be connotated as representations of ruthlessness. Ice, the coldness of its temperature already signifies the characteristic of lifelessness or the lack of emotions, thoughts in a living thing. Without emotions, thoughts, one can be ruthless and destructive.