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Analysis of Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost, is short in length but exceptionally deep in meaning. Although Frost does write some long poems, he seems to be a man of few words that has the uncanny ability to write enormous amounts of truth in such a short works. Nothing Gold Can Stay seems to express the loss of innocence and the coming of a callous reality that Frost seems to feel apathetic towards. The subliminal message of this poem is difficult to fully excavate, but Frost seems to be using the metaphor of the life of a flower and the dawn of a new day to describe the process of the coming of age, which could be the reason this poem is used in The Outsiders, a book based on the lives of teenagers and their quest into the realms of adulthood. To me, Frost creates two paradoxes; in the first four lines his focus is on physical nature, while the last four lines seems to revolve around the falling of Eden and the dawn of a new day. By examining each half of the poem, I will explore the way in which both halves are used to compliment each other, but also the areas that still seem to escape understanding.
When Frost says, ?Natures first green is gold,/Her hardest hue to hold.? It seems to me as if he is glorifying the ?hue?. Usually after a plant has sprouted its first leaves in the spring, people look forward to the birth of the flower because of its beauty. But Frost here does not seem to be interested in the flower, but rather the golden hue that is formed almost directly after conception of leaf. He goes on to say, ?Her early leaf?s a flower;/But only so an hour?. What one could take from the lines here is not the fact that the early leaf is a flower, because it is not, but that what most people find most interesting about the plant in the flowering process, Frost finds that same happiness in the ?hue? of the flower which is in the beginning stages. So what exactly does this paradox of youth mean? The paradox that has been formulated in this first half of the poem tells me that Frost may have a problem with the road of life and the passage of time.
In this second half, Frost indicates, ?Then leaf subsides to leaf?. This line could be a metaphor for the cycle of life in that when someone dies, another person replaces him easily. What confuses me about the poem is that I am not sure what is to be made of the line, ?So Eden sank to grief?. One could say that Frost is speaking of the falling of Eden in ?sank?, but in regards to what? The falling of Eden was due to Adam and Eve, not the garden itself. Frost could be saying that as the garden of Eden fell, which was suppose to be a work of perfection, everything thereafter will also be a result of imperfection. ?So dawn goes down to day? also confuses me because dawn does not go down, rather it goes up. The word ?down? to me is not to be taken as much literal as it is to be taken as a figure of speech. As in ?down? is saying that dawn unfortunately gives way to day because it does not have a choice as in the first half when Frost seems saddened by the fact that, ?Her early leaf?s a flower;/But only so an hour?. Frost seems to conclude that because of these previous allegations, ?Nothing gold can stay? which is said in such a depressing tone that makes one wonder the actual goal of this poem. To me this poem is saying that the beginning stages of life are the most beautiful although they do not stay around for long. There is nothing optimistic about this poem to me, only that Frost seems depressed by the inevitability of growing up and being forced to face the day.

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