Thomas and Frost

Thomas and Frost both write about the experience of unexpected joy. In Edward Thomas’ “Adlestrop” and Robert Frosts’ “The Tuft of Flowers” we read about the speakers experiences of unexpected joy through the poet’s aspects of imagery, form, language and tone of each of their poems. In Frosts’ poem “The Tuft of Flowers” the speaker, at first, is musing on the separateness of mankind and the workers. Whilst he muses this he is led by a butterfly to gaze upon a tuft of flowers that has been left by the mower he had been following and the speaker is touched by the appreciation of beauty and feels a sense of togetherness looking at the flowers, banishing his loneliness and isolation which is shown at the beginning of the poem “And I must be, as he had been – alone”, bringing him his experience of unexpected joy. However, in Thomas’ “Adlestrop” the speakers experience comes from when he hears a blackbird singing and from his views on the surrounding fields and is about the beauty of nature.

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Throughout the structure of Frosts’ “The Tuft of Flowers” we see a transformation in the speakers’ attitude from universal isolation to universal togetherness. He says “…I must be, as he had been – alone” the word “alone” shows loneliness and isolation which at the end is transformed to the joyful statement “Men work together” showing the speakers view of universal togetherness. Frost uses heroic couplets to show the epic scope of the speaker’s experience of unexpected joy and shows the poems emphasis on harmony and clarity, whereas in Thomas’ “Adlestrop” his rhyming ABCB conveys the speakers attempt to order his recollection of his unexpected joy. The first half of “Adlestop” has a lot of punctuation, dashes “Yes I remember Adlestrop-” and full stops “…unwontedly. It was late June.” showing a fractured structure and his memory of the experience is not very clear, however in the second half of the poem there is less punctuation showing his recollection of the experience is becoming clearer.

“Adlestrop” beings as though it is answering a question “Yes, I remember Adlestrop” and the speaker is recalling his experience and he reminisces about it whereas in “The Tuft of Flowers” no question has been asked it is more the speaker’s thoughts. In Frost’s “The Tuft of Flowers” the metaphor “leaping of bloom” gives an idea of inspiration and the transcendental idea of the speaker’s joyful sense of togetherness with nature. Frost also uses imagery throughout his poem. There is an image of isolation and loneliness at the beginning of the poem, “alone”, which allows the transformation of the speaker’s attitude that enables him to experience the unexpected sense of joy. Another example of imagery used by Frost is the image of the butterfly as an agent of change, bringing the speaker towards the tuft of flowers “he turned first and led my eye to look”, also towards this experience of unexpected joy. Imagery is also used by Thomas in his poem “Adlestrop”, there is a contrast in the images of bareness and isolation at the start of the poem “No one”, and the picture of song “blackbird sang” and plentitude “all the birds” at the end of the poem. Thomas also uses repetition and lists to convey the experience of joy “willows, willow-herbs, and grass and meadowsweet, and haycocks” the repetition of the word “and” indicates the speaker’s unmediated joy in nature.

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