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Stopping by Woods

The poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert is a perfect example of the theme of the individual in nature. The poet Robert Frost utilized the theme in many of his poems. Frost was an outdoors man. He identified himself as a farmer and depicted the harsh relationship that man has with nature. He does not cower at the reality that nature may loose a few battles, but always wins the war with man. However, nature is also the place where mankind goes to find himself/herself, where he/she learns the lessons that life has to teach him, to find rest, and ultimately where he/she will return.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening shows the individual recognizing that nature is where man truly wants to exist. In the first four lines of the poem, contemplate the fact that there is another individual who owns the wood, and subtly poses the question can nature be owned? The traveler thinks that he knows who physically owns the woods and assumes that he would not mind if an individual stopped and took in their beauty. He portrays the woods as massive to the point where a mere man could not control them. The reason the traveler has stopped is to watch the woods fill up with snow.

Snow is a form of precipitation that is ironic because even though it is cold, can warm the heart of the individual. Snow is the only form of precipitation that is welcomed by most of humanity. School children anxiously await the closing of school, the snowball fights, and the sledding. At the thought of snow, adults are flooded with childhood memories, anticipate skiing, and realize that this form or precipitation can single handedly set the mood for a holiday. The horse is also a representation of the natural world. It does not see the beauty of the snow, but feels the coldness and senses the darkness of the season that produces it.

The horse is the product of nature that brings reality to the scene. Snow is beautiful and can be fun, however, it can be dangerous. Overexposure can bring frost bite, and one who is homeless and has no shelter, knows all too well how easy it is to freeze to death. Frost uses the symbolic as well as the literal form of darkness to remind the reader of the bitter consequences of too much snow. Beauty and tranquility are what make the woods and snow alluring. Yet the reader, while drawn to the peace and since of belonging that nature offers, is drawn back into society by obligations.

Nature offers an individual the chance to become one with what he/she is supposed to be; a creature of nature that only has to consider survival. Society does its best to separate man from his/her basic existence. Therefore, he is drawn back into all of the elements that take him/her away from the natural state of finding peace and joy from nature. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening truly embodies the theme of the individual in nature. Frost explores both the positive and the negative effects of it and then decides that nature is where man finds his/her true self.

The poem has been a favorite for generations because humans see themselves through the words of one of America’s best loved poets. To Build a Fire by Jack London: The Theme of the Individual in Nature Jack London was one of the most influential writers of the Naturalist movement of the late nineteenth century. The major focus of the Naturalist was the place of the individual in nature. In the short story To Build a Fire by London is one of his finest examples of the individual in nature. Nature gives humankind everything he/she needs to exist, but in return nature only ask for the respect of man.

The unnamed protagonist in To Build a Fire has come to the Alaskan Yukon to mine gold. He intends to take from nature with no intention of giving anything back. He is only interested in what it can give him. This is symbolic of the attitude mankind generally has of nature. He has come to seek his fortune and strike it rich with no regard to the force that actually gives him life and has the power to take it from him. At the beginning of the story, the doom that nature will deliver to the protagonist is foreshadowed through the dismal scenery and lack of sun. What is ironic is that this scene makes no impression on the protagonist.

He has absolutely no idea that fifty below zero is as dangerous as it is, and no insight to find out about the danger. In essence, he ignored the signs that nature gave as warning signs. As mankind does today, he turned a blind eye to the threat of impending doom without the proper respect to nature. The protagonist is accompanied by a husky that is native to the Alaskan Yukon. Stereotypically in literature, when the theme of the individual in nature is prevalent, an animal is used to show how the individual gets so caught up in his/her intelligence that instinct is completely forgotten.

Instinct is a natural insight given to animals and humans to respond positively to nature. The dog in To Build a Fire knows that the situation is impossible and returns to the camp. The protagonist, still sticks to his journey with temperatures colder than fifty below zero. He quickly becomes a walking icicle, but still he will not see the danger of not respecting nature. Nature finally wins the battle when the man tries to start a fire under a limb piled high with snow. As he uses his last match, the snow falls on the fire because it is only natural for snow to become water when exposed to heat.

The protagonist dies because he refuses to listen and respect nature. This story is over one hundred years old and global warming was an idea that would take a century to become a topic of concern. London prophetically saw that nature could not be mistreated and her warning signs could not be ignored. If man did proceed to turn a blind eye to the warnings of nature, she would surely bring down vengeance on those who chose to disrespect her. The individual is designed to work harmoniously with nature and that is his/her place within the society of nature.

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