Design and A Noiseless Patient Spider - symbol of the spider
"Design" - Robert Frost
Combination of Italian and English sonnet form
14 lines, 3 rhyme words, formal verse
Speculating about the fate of a moth which leads him to consider a malevolent
“designer” that toys with his creations.
Free will and fate
In Design, the speaker is watching a spider about to eat a moth.
He thinks about the
“designer”, some omnipotent force, that created the spider and the moth and the situation
that the two find themselves in.
Frost also uses irony to convey his tone.
For instance, he
calls the spider dimpled, fat and white.
“Dimpled” usually has pleasant connotations, like
someone smiling, but instead he is using it to refer to a scary creature.
He also uses
“white”, which usually refers to purity, innocence, or angelic qualities, but he instead is
using it to refer to death and darkness.
A Noiseless Patient Spider" - Walt Whitman
Jealous of the spider’s ability to explore the “vacant vast surrounding”
In A Noiseless Patient Spider, the speaker is watching a spider spinning a web, almost
The speaker refers to the spider’s actions as “tireless”, as if he can do it
without even thinking.
He compares this web to the “web” of his own soul, and his
confusion about his purpose in life.
The spider has a purpose: to spin the web, and the
speaker is indecisive and unsure of his own.
This is demonstrated by Whitman’s use of the
words “noiseless” and “patient” when talking about the spider, because he on the other
hand feels restless.
Stopping By Woods and The Snow Man - image of snow
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" - Robert Frost, 1923
New England- New Hampshire
The philosophic sense of the poem occurs in the last lines
English sonnet. 16 lines, 4 rhyme words
Formal verse - tetrameter
Conflict between attraction to going into the woods and responsibilities elsewhere
Winter is seen as attractive, deep woods
Winter in the nighttime
Won’t allow himself to get lost because of the danger he sees in the time of winter
and in these woods- “darkest evening of the year”- darkness, not a joyful image of winter
A masculine quest that the speaker is embarking on; he has “a promise to keep and
miles to go before [he] sleep[s]…” because he is trying to get somewhere
Decision between society and responsibility vs. Seductive darkness beyond the
Speaker’s dilemma: regard for beauty, attraction to danger/ the unknown/ mystery, or
a wish for suicide
The Snow Man" - Wallace Stevens, 1923
January in New England
Enjambment; run-on sentence - gives the feeling of being surreal