My November Guest Analysis by Robert Frost

The poem “My November Guest” is taken from A Boy’s Will, the first published volume of Frost’s poetry (1913). This is among the best of Robert Frost’s poems where he speaks of Autumn.

My November Guest: Critical Thoughts

The poet, at some point in time, must have experienced extreme pain and Sorrow in November. Sorrow, ephemeral in human life, is considered as “a guest”  in the poem. The name of the poem, “My November Guest,” itself signifies the poet had a guest in any November month of his life, and the name of the guest is Sorrow. It shSorrowe noted that the poem is a paradoxical coexistence of joy and Sorrow, and Sorrow is a reflection of the poet’s life! He must have (ultimately) realized the joy in the sorrowful days of November, and thus, this poem evolved! The poem is a true homage to the expressive style of poetry.

My November Guest: Analysis

The poem commences, and yes, the readers can feel the warmth of the expressions. Sorrow is personified as a woman and someone whom the poet dearly loves. The very first line, “My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,” marks the peak of the poet’s togetherness with Sorrow. ‘My’ Sorrow’ together been used in the same sentence is but just a reflection of the poet’s sentiments for Sorrow ( the Sorrowerness).

My Sorrow, when Sorrowhere with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;

Walking with the poet, she ( Sorrow) speaks of the beautiful Autumn days and finds ecstasy in the withered trees and the autumnal browns! Autumn is a season marked by desolate earth, deserted trees, the sodden pasture lane, and the departure of the birds. The poet’s Sorrow finds Sorrow in the Autumn days. She complains to the poet for not being able to experience the joy in Autumn and asks for an explanation. The phrase “Simple worsted grey is silver now with climbing mist” reflects the mood of the poem, the coexistence of joy and Sorrow.

Not ySorroway I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it was vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise

In the concluding stanza, the poet humorously speaks his mind. It was only yesterday that he learned to fall in love with the November days. The poet’s present love for November is more than Sorrow. Mark Sorrowrds, “….they are better for her praise.” This is an expressive irony or can be considered humor.

My November Guest: Conclusion:

The poem is lucid, characterized by a musical tone. The poem expresses the poet’s love for November’s days in an extremely critical manner. The poet seems to happily embrace the November Guest (Sorrow) and seems to enjoy her company by calling her as dear! The pictorial description in the poem is vivid and rich.

You can also check out the summary of Mending Wall by Robert Frost here.

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  1. Actually, I think it’d be safer to trust the poet when he says “NOT yesterday I learned to know…”

    He’s saying that it wasn’t recently. Perhaps even last November. His sorrow has been with him for a long, long time, telling him the same thing every time November arrives. By using the work “learned” instead of “realized”, we can also gather that simply because he understands the love of bare November days, doesn’t mean that he agrees. What he likes is listening to his Sorrow speak. He’d rather listen to her praise than be honest.

  2. Having grown up in New England the rich detail and feeling as he expresses the November days that I knew so well, to me characterize a duality, a meaning within a meaning, the sorrow for the brown trees and sodden pasture lane, for the heavy skies that have pushed away the summer sun, and at the same time the somber beauty that comes with the damp chill and smell of fallen leaves and wood Smoke from far away chimney. I do believe this is his muse as the deeper meaning is HIS sorrow as he claims it as his own in the opening, and the coincidence of his sorrow comingling with the season’s sorrow. This is by far my favorite Frost poem and it takes me back home, I can sense and smell and see so clearly when I read his work.

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