Explanation of A Servant of Servants by Robert Frost
A Servant of Servants by Robert Frost is a poem which tells the tale of a woman who tells of her daily ordeals to a visitor who is camping out near her house. She spends her day cooking and cleaning after the many men in her house and is tired from the work. She is delighted at the opportunity to meet another individual, especially a person who can drop everything and come live in the lap of nature. She talks of her fleeting desire to do the same. She talks of her mental illness, how she was admitted to the asylum and how she wants rest, not medicine to become better. She also talks of how mental illness runs in her family as she describes her brother’s condition as she was growing up. She also talks of the pressure on her everyday as she has to cook for and clean after the various men who work with her husband. Finally, the call of her work is too strong for her and she ends the conversation telling the visitor that she wished that he would not leave unless he had to.
A Servant of Servants was published in 1915 in Frost’s collection of poems called “North of Boston”. It is a 177 line poem which is written in the form of a rambling gossipy conversation a rural housewife might have. Keeping in sync with the rambling nature of the woman, there is no rhyme scheme.
A Servant of Servants by Robert Frost is a poem which deals with the ordeal which individuals suffering from mental illness go through every day. But Frost, in his own way, also brings in other themes in this poem, including his often used theme of loneliness.
The woman in this case, is overburdened from the daily ordeal of cooking and cleaning after her husband and his various workers. She’s glad at the opportunity of meeting a stranger who camps out in the great outdoors, near the lake where her house is. She longs to go off and live the life of the stranger, living among nature, but doesn’t. The poet brings out her desire to indulge in escapist fantasies.
The poet tries to bring out two major themes. One is the life the rural housewife lives. She’s overworked, always tired, cooking, cleaning and looking after the different people who work with her husband, and has foregone her dream of living as one with nature. This dream only comes out through escapist fantasies. The second is the mental illness she suffers from. She talks of the mental illness that runs through her family and her experience through the years with her brother and her own life. She talks of how she wants rest and not medicine to get better, which she hasn’t been able to get.Her feelings when her husband asked her to marry him only go on to show how much she disliked the life she had. She ends on the note where she tells the stranger that she would rather he not go unless he had to, which only shows her loneliness despite being surrounded by so many people.