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An Analysis of Robert Frost’s West-Running Brook from Perspectives of Ontology and Phenomenology

Author LiHaiMing
Tutor NieZhenZuo
School Central China Normal University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Robert Frost West-Running Brook Ontology Phenomenology
Type Master's thesis
Year 2006
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Robert Frost is one of the greatest poets in the 20th century American literature. During his life, he kept writing and published fine poetry for decades, and many of his poems become popular and enjoy great prestige among people worldwide. Compared with other poets, Frost’s way to success is a long one. He did not earn his reputation until he was 39, but the honors he enjoys throughout his career are unparalleled to any other American poets of his time. His poetry, as beautiful as pure lotus flowers above water, is good at capturing inspiration from routine work and daily life and probes into the life’s philosophy from unique angle, transmitting endless wisdom of life. Robert Frost flies his own colors in the history of American poetry because in the society in which industrialization prevails he sticks to appreciating the natural and idyllic life. His poetry, with simple language, harmonious meter, vivid image and profound philosophy, making people be bent on reading, is deeply loved both by the American people and by any other peoples all over the world.In the study of Robert Frost, West-Running Brook is a set of poems which should never be ignored. Robert Frost made his 42 poems published in 1928 and gave the name of the book: West-Running Brook. The poet, who was 54 years old at that time, naturally already experienced many vicissitudes of life, thus his poetry during the period of course showed obvious profound color and turned to be more philosophic on the thought of life. Full of philosophic thinking is the striking characteristic of West-Running Brook, especially the poem West-Running Brook which has the same title of the book. And this gives an account of the study of the collection of poems of West-Running Brook from the perspectives of philosophical concepts such as ontology and phenomenon, and undoubtedly this kind of study, hence, has justifiably pioneering significance.This thesis consists of three parts in front of which there is an introduction. The introduction firstly gives a brief opinion about Robert Frost’s standing in the history of American poetry. Then, it makes a summary of Robert Frost’s poems from the perspectives of ontology and phenomenology. The first chapter makes comments through examples on the poems from the angle of ontology and the second chapter from the angle of phenomenology. The third chapter puts emphasis on two important poems: Acquainted with the Night and West-Running Brook and gives detailed analyses of the two poems, trying to give distinct, penetrating and reasonable explanations. The thesis focuses the attention on the most important poem: West-Running Brook with the same title of the book. The poem West-Running Brook is full of philosophy. It’s made up of a conversation between a man and a woman, in which the woman talks about love, the man emphasizestime. The discussion of love and time is based on the brook’s unusual reverse of running. This section makes an analysis of the poem from the perspectives of ontology and phenomenology. And it also points out that only the love and time coming back to the ontological and phenomenalistic level with natural instincts can have real value of life and gain the philosophical power to shake the readers’ minds.In the thesis each Robert Frost’s poem and other English poems commented have corresponding complete Chinese translations, which are all translated by the author of the thesis. The author, in translation, makes best efforts to approach and keep the original rhyme scheme and the simple and natural style of the source target as well as possible, with the aim to display the elegant demeanor of the English poems..

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