Robert Frost Full Notes and Sample Answer: Insights and Accessible Language

What are some things about Frost’s subject matter and imagery that make him stand out?
  • His poetry is down-to-earth colloquial and traditional at the same time. It is traditional in the sense that he didn’t use free verse, which would have been en-vogue at the time among modernists (The Tuft of Flowers, Mending Wall, After Apple-Picking, The Road Not Taken, Birches and ’Out, Out-’)
  • Frost’s technical skill in poetry is exceptional with his strict rhythm and rhymes (Design, Acquainted with the Night and Provide, Provide)
  • Frost is a philosophical observer who perceives existential aspects in common occurrences (all his poems on the course). These include the nature of making decisions (The Road Not Taken), the nature of barriers (Mending Wall), escapism and finding the strength to keep going (Birches), fragility of human life (’Out, Out-’), the origin of life (Design) and a wholesome look at nature (Spring Pools). 
robert frost leaving cert notes

  • The theme of time occupies a special place in Frost’s poetry (The Road Not Taken, Birches, ’Out, Out-’, Provide, Provide, Spring Pools and Acquainted with the Night)
  • Other prevalent themes include loneliness (Acquainted with the Night and The Tuft of Flowers) and living in the countryside (After Apple-Picking, Birches, The Tuft of Flowers, Mending Wall and ’Out, Out-’)
  • Frost can be regarded as a nature poet (all his poems on the course, except Provide, Provide), but the focus of the poems is usually deeply philosophical. Frost doesn’t really express any opinions in his poetry. Instead, he highlights certain issues in order to stimulate the reader to make up his or her mind. This is a characteristic of exceptional poetry and helps explain why Frost is so revered.
  • He uses allusion. (Birches, Out, Out-’, Design, Provide, Provide and After Apple-Picking) Here, an allusion is an expression designed to call other literary works to mind without mentioning them explicitly; an indirect or passing reference. Allusions seem complex, but they are everywhere. Pretty much all good memes are allusions. When you say “One does not simply fold a fitted sheet”, you are alluding to The Lord of the Rings, and when you say “Brace yourselves, the Leaving Cert is coming” - you are alluding to Game of Thrones. Everyone knows the source, without ever having to mention it - that’s an allusion. 

We can use these points to answer the recent question on Frost:


“Frost communicates rich insights into human experience using language that is both accessible and appealing.” Discuss this statement, supporting your answer with reference to the poetry of Robert Frost on your course. (2015)

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
- Attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci

Reading Robert Frost’s poetry has been a journey into philosophy. It is well known that Frost is one of the XX century’s most recognised poets. However, the initial readings of his poetry are perplexingly underwhelming. Cursed with plain language, march-like beat and conventional natural imagery, the poems leave the reader wondering what they should be excited about. It  soon transpires, however, that there are layers upon layers of complex thought veiled under the allegory of countryside life and elegant allusions. Frost is a philosopher who delves into existential themes in a non-judgmental manner and an excellent craftsman of language who needn’t resort to showy poetic manoeuvres.

For the full sample answer as well as a comprehensive overview of how to approach this and any other such essay, this is our brand new download covering all of his poems on the syllabus: The Tuft of Flowers, Mending Wall, After Apple-Picking, The Road Not Taken, Birches, ‘Out, Out-’, Spring Pools, Acquainted with the Night, Design and Provide, Provide.

It is a 27 A4 page (8,900 word) pdf download with only the most relevant material for your English Higher Level A1. 

The notes are deliberately extra long to give you choice and ample food for thought - and most importantly, prepare you for the exam rather than just one essay title.

It also contains a step-by-step detailed deconstruction of the process of writing this particular essay:

✓ how to start 

✓ how to address the question 
✓ how to develop and illustrate your argument 
✓ how to link it all up...

providing you with a toolkit to crack any poetry essay title.


All notes are printable. You will receive a download link to your email straight after purchase.


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