Coursework on Design by Robert Frost

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Middlebury College
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Course work
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Design by Robert Frost is a poem that opens by the persona describing a white spider stalking a white moth on a heal-all. The spider in question has possibly just eaten, fat and healthy, dimpled like a baby, and resting on a flower white. The color white is repeatedly used to show purity. The flower is appropriately mentioned, its the solution to varieties in herbal medicine, so the spider had a genuine reason to sit on this kind of plant, and it suggests that there is a kind of connections between the two. Scarcely, it is so ironical to choose the white to contrast with the intense and dark business of the hunting and consuming spider. And ironically named heal-all. As the persona comments on witches broth, the term frost suggests that darkness loiters everywhere, giving more explanation to the human mind. Frost is defenseless like unsafe as the spider and moth on a flower.


This type of poem with 14 lines is referred to as Italian sonnet and mostly consists of two stanzas. In stanza 1, the last word of line one rhymes with the word of line four. The rhyming proceeds with the next four lines. In verse two rhyme patterns changes, that is, it maintains sound /t/ in the 3rd and 4th lines, but sound /l/ appears as for the word heal-all at the end of the line. The sounding in the poem creates a regular rhyme scheme abbaabbaacaacc.

Styles of the Poem


In the 3RD Line, stanza 1, the moth is compared to a section of cloth," Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth as well as on the 8th line of the same stanza, a paper kite, And dead wings carried like a paper kite."


Alliteration is shown on the 2nd 7th and 13th lines of the poem. Examples of alliteration in the poem include:

.the heal-all, holding up a,

A snow-drop spider, a flower like froth."

.but the design of darkness to appall?


Repetition is used to reinforce rhythm and also to bring musicality in the poem, the word heal-all is repeated in line 1 and line 10.

Use of Rhetorical Questions

The speaker is wondering how things came to existence. For example,

What had that flower to do with being white?

What brought the kindred spider to that height?

The word kindred means the flower and the spider share the same spirit; they somewhat relate to one another. The word thither is Biblically used that is John 7:34 when Jesus says and where I am thither ye cannot come. The persona is trying to emphasize the purpose of nature as the design is dark.


The tone of the poem is founded out to be romantic because the poem movies to how the speaker observes nature. The antagonistic tone is also brought out by the persona when he finds a dimpled white and fat spider. The speaker is trying to be so aggressive about this spider.

In conclusion, the imagery of this poem is implied on a white spider as a surprise to the speaker, and this shows that even if there is evil around goods and purity can also exist. As the moth is seen to be spiders prey Frost is indicated as medicine and more so as the heal-all shows evil an innocence spider becomes the symbol of kindness.



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