The poem ‘Love and A Question’ is taken from A Boy’s Will. A realistic setting well combined with an eerie atmosphere makes the poem a delight. The poem is more tend towards a male psychology, perhaps a reason why every women should read (Well, men should too ) In this analysis of Love and a Question, we’ll be discussing two significant ideas that Frost tried to convey through this poem! Before we approach a critical discussion, have a quick recap of the poem!
Brief Summary of Love and A Question!
A man and his young bride in a country house was suddenly disturbed by a stranger seeking for a night’s shelter. The stranger conveyed more through his eyes and gestures than with words. There was no shelter nearby except the one. The groom was in a state of hesitancy! Would he allow the stranger in the bridal house and deny himself and his bride, the raptures of love or turn him away into the inhospitable night? The dilemma to some extent is left unresolved. Although the groom denied a shelter to the stranger, his conscience still battles to justify his action!
The poem actually refers to two kinds of love! The romantic love of the groom and his bride, and the compassionate love for mankind. Frost, himself being a romantic poet gave preference to the romantic love since the groom did not give shelter to the stranger. However, the groom was not indifferent! He offered the stranger some bread and money, and also prayed for him.
Three Major Shifts!
The poem suffuses the elements of confusion, indecision and romanticism. The poem witness three major shifts. Read the poem once more if needed!
1. The entry of the stranger and the plea for shelter makes the groom tensed. The groom’s incapability to take a decision is justified in this text of the poem “…Stranger, I wish I knew.”
2. But a sudden look at the bride and her sensual needs clears all confusion in the mind of the groom! Mark the line, “…the bridegroom looked at the weary road, yet saw but her within.” ……Was that ephemeral?
3. Oh yes! It was. The groom having made the decision, is again perplexed! Now, he is hesitant because he does not whether his decision was right or wrong!
Inner Meaning of Love and a Question!
The poem is marred with some interesting thought provoking ideas. Love and a Question is a highly contemporary poem! The poem is a delicate study of a man’s sentiments. Men tend to be more logical than being emotional. The groom’s (denial to the stranger) embarks a feeling of romance and sensuality towards his bride. The action may be in response to his bride “face rose-red with the glowing coal”. Man may tend to understand the emotional aspect of lovemaking, but he is never truly capable of delving into the heart without the activity of his mind/logic. Just notice the last line of the poem!
Thus, the groom even after understanding the sensual needs of his bride and making a decision, remains perplexed. This poem reflects the Frost’s original thinking about men and to a large extent he is correct!
Theme of Love and a Question!
In this poem, we see Frost, both as a realistic poet and an idyllic romantic poet. The beautiful picture of the young bride awaiting her husband in the dusk with a face rose-red with the glowing coal creates an anticipation of fulfilling love. Love in all forms is important. The poem actually weighs compassionate love and sensual love, and thus a question evokes! At times, decisions need to be made!
Readers should remember, especially men! In the matters of heart, never let your mind do the judgement. Frost could have easily left it to the readers to decide the fate of the stranger.
Instead Frost made a decision….
This makes it clear that he really wanted to convey something to his readers:-
**In life you may have to choose a form of love and negate the other! “Compassionate love” and “Sensual love” stands as just examples of the myriad forms of love! While you may embrace one form of love at a particular time, you can always express your generosity to the other form of love even if you can’t accept. (That’s what the groom did!)
** Men actually are more logical than being emotional. Women should understand this! Men will make a decision to please you, however, will remain hesitant until he realize the decision was correct!
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This analysis is really good! I would only have to add that the way the word tranger is capitalised makes me think that has a double meaning. I think that perhaps the Stranger is doubt or fear. In this way the man is letting in doubt and uncertainty into his perfect marriage and does not know what to do with the uncertainty. He sees how much the bride loves him, but he is not sure if he can see a future with her: “The bridegroom looked at the weary road, Yet saw but her within”, Not outside on the road to his future. He then says that he would like to keep her and never let her go withgoldn box metaphor. In the end I think the man has decided that the best think for the bride would be to divorce. But there are many ways of interpreting the conclusion.
I would challenge the notion that the bridegroom is primarily motivated by logic. It actually seems that he is perplexed by the right decision but then overcome with desire for the bride. Thus he is not acting from a place of logic but desire. This could challenge wider perceptions about psychology and gender, i.e. it is assumed that women are more emotional beings than men. This poem reveals that men are equally motivated by emotional or sensual desire, not inherently more logical.
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