"Frost at Midnight" by Coleridge

Essay by xonikxo@hotmail.comHigh School, 12th gradeA-, February 2007

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"Frost at Midnight" is a reflective, conversational poem that is not only confined the thoughts of the present. Issues relating to past, present and the future are examined through Coleridge's persona and his contemplative thoughts on the importance of education, nature and imagination in the development of a complete person are explored. The physical settings are lightly touched on by Coleridge as his focus is not on place or action but on personality and the quality of imaginative thought. Coleridge invites the reader to join him on his journey that explores his immediate world as well as memories, observations and aspirations.

The catalyst for the reflective journey is the flickering blue flame in his fireplace, which reminds him of the superstition he used to believe in as a boy. Coleridge explores his days at school and reminisces about how he used to sit staring at the fireplace in hope that a blue flame would flicker hopefully causing a loved one, particularly his sister, to come visit him.

This leads us to Coleridge's view that institutions such as schools are no place to complete ones learning, and he explores the idea that nature can teach far more than a school. Through this memory he is able to explore the differences between country and city, and that the spirit can be enriched by the country if one is willing.

Furthermore, Coleridge moves on from reminiscing about his school days and remembers further back to when he was a child. He demonstrates that children miss out on the most important aspects of spiritual education, and presents the idea that nature in itself provokes thought and understanding enough. He then moves on to explore the future for his child and expresses his wish for his baby to grow up independent of school and...