Response to Robert Frost's "Education by poetry"

Essay by yukorokskoCollege, UndergraduateA-, July 2008

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In his address “Education by Poetry” given at Amherst College in 1930, Robert Frost introduces the two roles of poetry in education. The first role is that through poetry we cultivate our taste. The second role, which is said to be more crucial, is that poetry teaches us how to discern and understand metaphor in our life. Having read that poetry helps us with our handling metaphor, I naturally reached one simple question. Why is it important to have an ability to identify and comprehend metaphor in our life? In the next paragraph, I would like to give my answer to this very question, simultaneously demonstrating Frost’s view point on the importance of the ability. Then, in the third paragraph, from my viewpoint on metaphor, I would like to go further deeper to examining the strengths and weaknesses of one metaphor.

To show why it is important to recognize metaphor in our life, the connection between metaphor and thinking on which Frost sheds fresh light in his address is the key.

In general, metaphor is a word or phrase used to describe something or somebody else. More specifically, metaphor expresses one thing in terms of another, therefore creating relative values and a certain association between them. According to Frost, this conception of metaphor is the same as that of thinking. To think of one object is to explain that object in terms of another object, and so is to think of a person, an event, and so on. Hence, an amazing thought, which Frost similarly reasons, can be reasoned; metaphor binds everything in this world together. For when you think of something, you are associating it with other thing, which means creating a metaphor, and this applies to all objects, persons, and events that have been recognized in the world.