Saturday, 6 May 2017

Examine the theme of endurance in Birches (WAEC MAY/JUNE 2017 QUESTION AND ANSWER).

Birches is a poem written to paint the picture of uneasiness of living on earth most especially as an adult by using the birch trees as symbol of such uneasiness. Frost showed a distinct feature of the birch tree as a very tough and tenacious tree in nature.

Such feature led us to the theme of endurance among other themes such as the theme of nostalgia, theme of transition, theme of earthly pleasure, etc.

Now is the time to delve deeply into the theme of endurance. The flexibility of the birches aided their ability to contain swinging and pressing down effects caused by ice-storms. The poet mentioned two different strains of the birch trees which are the imaginary boy swinging it and the ice-storms; of the two, the ice-storms left the birches bent forever. 

The birches didn't just endured the burden of the ice but continued to grow in its ice-caused deformity "Year afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground"; after the birches are permanently bent, they didn't stop growing knowing that the deed is done and never to be reversed.

Inference of endurance is drawn from stanza four of the poem between line 14-19:
"They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair"

Sri Aurobindo says and I quote, "...pain is the key that opens the gates of strength; it is the high-road that leads to the city of beatitude". Looking at the life of human beings, some circumstances are irreversible and most humans are meant to live through them the same way the birches do; a good instance of such circumstances is aging. Aging brings changes to human permanently both in shape and in acts, leaving human beings with no other choice than to resign to fate of nature.

#1. Have you seen the poem Birches by Robert Frost (which is 59 lines in total)?
#2. Do you seem to have any addition to this analysis?
#3. If you were in Frost's shoe, would you have crafted the theme of endurance better?
#4. Is there any way you can relate the theme to your human experience?
#5. Drop your suggestion in the comment box.

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


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