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ENGL 100-992

January 30, 2018

A Close Reading of
“Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

            “Nothing
Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost is a poem about nature, which in time changes.

It is a poem where nature is once as precious as gold, which its colour is hard
to maintain. It grows beautiful flowers, but then flowers disappear and only
leaves grow which shows that nature is changing over time. Throughout the
course of the poem, Frost illustrates the constant changes in nature; he
states, “her early leaf’s a flower; / But only so an hour. / Then leaf subsides
to leaf” (3-5). The use of transition word ‘but’ on line four depicts the shift
that happens in the poem. It starts from change in the poem, which becomes
sorrowful where everything changes.

            This
poem is an example of a lyric poem, as there is an emotion inside when it
reaches the Volta, it becomes sad from neutral. Frost passes his thoughts
across the audience effectively by using literary devices including alliteration,
metaphor, allusion, personification, and repetition. In line two, “Her hardest
hue to hold”, Frost uses alliteration to get the audience’s attention, and to
emphasize that the nature’s hardest to maintain is its color which is golden,
“Nature’s first green is gold” (line 1). Furthermore, in line eight, he uses metaphor,
“Nothing gold can stay”. In this line, nature is compared to something valuable
and precious such as gold, and that even as great as this do not last for a
life time. Also, the use of allusion is evident when he says, “Eden sank to
grief” (line 6). He alludes it to a popular story in the Bible, “Garden of
Eden”. This garden is initially considered unflawed, but when both Adam and Eve
commit a sin by eating the forbidden fruit, it turns into this dark, sorrowful
place. Frost also personifies the nature when he uses the word ‘her’ in line
two and three, “Her hardest hue to hold/ Her early leaf is a flower”. He also uses
repetition to draw the audience’s focus to the poem, he repeats ‘her’, ‘so’,
and ‘gold’ multiple times. The tone of this poem turns from being neutral where
it is saying that nature was just beautiful “Nature’s first green is gold/ Her
early leaf is a flower” (line 1, 3) to sorrowful where everything just changes
like when Frost says “So, dawn goes down to day” (line 7) and “Then leaf
subsides to leaf” (line 5). The sound of the poem also consists of rhythm which
is the beat and is measured by syllables, line one to two, and five to eight
consists of six syllables per line, then line three to four have seven
syllables each line. The sound also consists of rhyme scheme AABBCCDD. The
appearance of the poem is almost uniform, it is short and only consists eight
lines and it has a plain form.

            “Nothing
Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost demonstrate that even though something is treasurable
or valuable still can change. Frost uses the nature as an example of change as
being constant in the world. Once, nature was perfect but then, over periods of
time it starts turning in negative forms in which where once a tree grows
something that is precious to just nothing anymore. His poem showed the changes
after the use of transition ‘but’, the next lines after this becomes sadder and
heartbreaking because everything, including beautiful things, will not always
stay around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

FROST, ROBERT. “NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY.” The New Wascana Anthology: Poetry,

Short Fiction, and Critical Prose. Eds. Medrie
Purdham and Michael Trussler. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2014, pp. 96.

Print.

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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