ENG 242 Poem Analysis Paper.docx

From there they learn to strive for flowers

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then come the flowers. From there they learn to strive for ‘flowers’, accomplishments in life that will bring them glory and attention. Humans then chase more and more ‘flowers’, to continually hide their ‘leaves’ in an array of beauty and ego. It is this cycle that the speaker ponders and reflects on. The poem contemplates the complexities of human nature and raises a valuable question. Are flowers more valuable than leaves? An odd question, however the true meaning of this question translates to: is beauty more valuable than true personality? In the end, however, the question is only vaguely answered. The form of the poem gives it a relaxed, nonchalant feel; almost as though the speaker doesn’t have an opinion on the themes illustrated throughout it. Light and rolling, the rhythm of this poem brings a sense of youthfulness and naiveite that reflects the timeline of human maturity. And to further render the pondering of the speaker, the free verse rhythm makes the poem feel like a train of thought.
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In the end, it seems the speaker spent his life chasing petals and glory, believing that flowers were more valuable than leaves. However, after a life long lived, the speaker contemplates the value of such flowers and the importance of chasing such glory. “But I may be one who does not care/ever to have tree bloom or bear.” (lines 6-7). The speaker no longer cares of such glories as he once did: “Petals I may have once pursued.” (line 19). A realization occurs, ‘Leaves and bark may be tree enough.” (Line 8). Ultimately, the speaker is unsure of which are more valuable, leaves or flowers. However, at this point in the speaker’s life, leaves are enough, and petals he or she will no longer pursue. This ending wraps up the central themes of values and human character; fundamentally, personality and true feelings are enough, and beauty and ego may not be of great importance. Through symbolism and reflection, Robert Frost’s poem, “Leaves Compared with Flowers”, is a powerful illustration that discusses human nature and questions human values.
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  • Fall '18
  • Michael Jauchen
  • Plant morphology, Sequoiadendron

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