Robert Frost's theory of contraries pervades both his short, lyric poems and his longer, narrative poems. This theory, which is the idea that life consists of two opposing elements, is recognized by the critics to be one of the most common themes running through his lyric poems. However, the narrative poems are almost exclusively approached critically from the standpoint of form and style.
This thesis shows that the theory of contraries is an important concept in the narratives. The framework of Frost's theory has been applied to three areas pertinent to his treatment of the men and women in his narratives: (1) philosophy or the question of man's nature and his relation to the universe; (2) psychology or the mental and emotional reaction of people to their physical and social environment; and (3) sociology or the relationship of men and women to each other and to their community.
The philosophical division of the theory includes the question of man's nature and his relation to the universe. It develops the opposing forces of man's nature versus woman's nature and the contrasting powers within one individual's nature. Also, man's struggle against the negative tension of the universe is developed.
The psychological division of the theory probes into man's conflict in deciding to choose or to drift, and in reacting with fear or courage to his environment.
And finally, the sociological division delves into the contrasts within the communication patterns in marriage, the conflict of man's duty to others or to himself, and the tension . in the contrast between man's need for association and his need for solitude.
This thesis examines the theory of contraries in Frost's narratives by first giving a background explanation of Frost's theory of contraries and a brief look at the contraries in Frost's own life. The body of the thesis is an analysis of seven of the narratives which demonstrate how the poems support Frost's theory of contraries.
Llewellyn E. Foll
Robert P. Dunn
Richard B. Lewis
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Frost; Robert; 1874-1963; Frost; Robert; 1874-1963--Criticism and interpretation.
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Wahlen, Peggy E., "The Theory of Contraries in Robert Frost's Narratives" (1979). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 735.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives