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1"There Was a Boy" and "The Most of It" In-class essay Samples


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1“There Was a Boy” and “The Most of It” In-class essay Samples
Sample 1
Wordsworth’s “There Was a Boy” and Frost’s “The Most of It” detail two very different interactions of the individual with nature. The subjects of the poem engage themselves in achieving communication with the natural world. Both produce an effect, but the boys interpret the responses very differently. Wordsworth’s boy senses an almost transcendental connection with nature while Frost’s boy understands the dying echoes of his shouts as an emphasis of his isolation.

Wordsworth’s nature is personable, emotional with feelings of its own, but Frost’s nature is animal-like and responds with answers that are shadows lacking human character. Wordsworth personifies the islands of Winander from the start. He gives them the ability to know the boy, and the exclamatory nature of the assertion gives a sense that the connection between the island and boy is real and alive..Frost’s cliff setting is antagonistic and “mocking.” It is equipped with the ability to injure by its “horny tread.” The two poets’‘ images clash when juxtaposed. Wordsworth’s boy “pressed closely palm to palm” his hands when making the owl call, and his companion nature similarly seems palm in palm or hand in hand with the boy. Frost’s nature is “boulder broken.” this diction, the brokenness of nature anticipates how nature falls short of nurturing Frost’s boy.

When both boys call out to nature, they receive responses that they interpret very differently. Wordsworth’s boy receives the answering hoots of owls and Frost’s boy meets the echoes of his yells, but Wordsworth interprets the calls as “responsive.” For his boy, nature varies in the response. There is interplay, and a single call from the boy could produce exciting “long halloos” or screams or “echoes.” Frost’s echoes seem “far-distant.” His shout is louder than the fainter call he receives. Like a buck, the echoes crash towards him but never quite reach him with necessary force. Something is lost as the echo fades. Where climax should exist, only a broken echo appears “and that was all.” Wordsworth’s boy has his hoots return as “echoes loud, redoubled and redoubled.” By the time they come back, the boy’s hoots have grown in excitement. They are boisterous, a “jocund din” that elates him. The manner in which the two boys respond to the echoes of nature emphasizes the personification of nature in Wordsworth and the animal-like nature of Frost. Wordsworth’s nature allows the boy to carry “far into his heart the voice” of the islands and their owls; but Frost’s offered no “counter-love,” no “orginal response” to his heart.

Inevitably, the two boys confront moments when they can hear no response, and their reactions correlate with their previous interaction with nature. When Wordsworth’s boy can hear no answer, he reaches a higher awareness of the comforting, all-enveloping connection he shares with Winander. His focus would broaden from calling the owls to achieving a sense of his place in the “rocks” and “woods.” His nature is an “uncertain heaven” that always offers surprises; in that the nature is uncertain, but the “bosom of the steady lake” offers a bliss of acceptance and belonging that is immutable. In their moments of reflection, the boy achieves a catharsis in nurturing Winander. Frost’s nature produces silences that are the epitome of his experience. “Instead of proving human,” Frost’s nature leaves him stumbling as his deer “stumbled.” All his efforst to establish connections are in vain, and where there should have been catharsis, only the echo falling short arrives, leaving him disappointed and disillusioned.

Both “There Was a Boy” and “The Most of It” hold up conceptions of a nature that can respond, but they interpret the responses in radically different manners. Wordsworth’s boy hears the hoots, the echoes, and the silences as confirmation that he belongs in this loving world. For Frost’s boy, nature is an animal that will not give him love but only leave him “stumbled” upon a “mocking echo.”

“There Was a Boy” and “The Most of It” In-class essay Samples

Sample 2
In William Wordsworth’s poem “There Was a Boy” and Robert Frost’s poem “the Most of It,” the two speakers are placed in similar situations where they are isolated in nature. The attitudes reflected by both speakers in regards to nature and being in solitude are very different, and the poets use certain techniques to highlight these differences.

In Wordsworth’s poem, the speaker is standing alone on a cliff. He is very aware of the nature around him, such as “the glimmering lake” and “the watery vale.” The boy is familiar with nature, and nature “knew him well, ye cliffs and islands of Winander.” the boy calls out to nature and “blew mimic hootings to the silent owls.” Even though he cannot see or hear them, he knows they are there and will respond. Nature is “responsive to his call,” and the owls would shout to him with “quivering peals and long halloos and scream.,” When the boy calls out and there is no response, he experiences “a gentle shock of mild surprise,” but he is not concerned. He is not frightened to feel alone and solitary in nature because he is surrounded by life. Nature is always a part of him, and he is thinking about it even when he does not mean to. “The visible scene would enter unawares into his mind,” and he is no longer alone. The poet reflects the speaker’s attitude of comfort and connection with nature by describing the nature around him. The speaker is more aware of nature than he is of himself, and only when his call to nature goes unanswered does he become aware of himself again.

In Frost’s poem, the speaker has a sense of isolation because there are no other humans around. The speaker “thought he kept the universe alone” because he cannot feel the presence of nature. Like the speaker in the previous poem, he also calls out, but for a “counter-love, original response” to his cry. He wants “someone else additional to him” and is disappointed when “a great buck” appeared, instead of something “proviing human.” The speaker doesn’t notice any beauty in nature around. The “tree-hidden cliff” hides what he wants to see, when he really should be looking at the beauty of the cliff. Nature in general is seen as harsh and strong, a contrast to the gentle view of nature in the other poem. Nature here is a “boulder-broken beach” and “far distant water.” There is not connection to the speaker. The only other living thing, the buck, has very harsh and somewhat violent verbs associated with it, such as “powerfully appeared,” “pushing,” “crumpled,” “stumbled,” and “forced.” There is no harmony between the buck and nature, while in the other poem the owls simply blended in. The speaker struggles to find a connection with another human instead of simply letting nature connect with him.

In conclusion, these two poems deal with the same topic in very different ways. The speaker in Wordsworth’s poem is in sync with nature, so he does not feel isolated. In Frost’s poem, the speaker struggles for a connection with anything, which contributes to his sense of isolation. The poets show the difference between those who fear nature and crave human companionship and those who are content to be alone with themself in nature.


“There Was a Boy” and “The Most of It” In-class essay Samples

Sample 3
Both William Wordsworth and Robert Frost have a theme of a person’s interaction with nature, yet the speaker of Wordsworth’s poem has a sort of oneness with nature, where as the speaker of Frost’s poem is stunned by it. Using such devices as imagery, unique diction, and distinct types of syntax in their different styles of writing, each author conveys the attitude of the speaker toward nature and himself.

Right away in the beginning of Wordsworth’s poem, the tone is established as content with an exclamation. As the speaker addresses “Ye cliffs and islands of Winander!” the reader is able to get the impression that the memory of this place creates positive feelings for the speaker. Describing the time of this warm-hearted encounter with nature, the speaker indicates that night is approaching because the “earliest stars began to move along the edges of the hills.” In the beginning of Frost’s poem, the introduction is a chilly as the writer’s last name. The single word “alone” that sticks out at the end of the first line giving more emphasis to the disappointment of the speaker thinking the “he kept the universe alone.” The speaker is being taunted by “the mocking echo of his own.” No one is there but him. Though the boy of Wordsworth’s poem “stand[s] alone, beneath the trees or by the glimmering lake,” he interacts with nature in such a way that he does not feel so lonely. As he “[blows] mimic hootings to silent owls,” the communication leads him further and further away from his solitude. In Frost’s poem, the rugged terrain of the “boulder-broken beach” does not give an open welcome to the speaker.

In response to the calls of the boy in Wordsworth’s poem, the birds call back to him. There is no distinction between bird and man. It is just creatures of the earth in mass communication. In Frost’s poem, there appears to be one moment where this “boulder-broken beach” seems to welcome the human person to it, for “after a time allowed for it to swim.” Yet, the hesitation of the person causes him to be left behind when someone else becomes one with nature instead. He was no longer by himself, yet it is as though nature had reached out its arms to welcome someone else and not him.



The contentment of the poem of Wordsworth is conveyed through its blank verse style as well as his words and imagery. In contrast, the more serious tone of Frost mirrors the organized structure of iambic pentameter. Like the hands of the boy of Wordsworth’s poem, the boy himself is “interwoven” with nature. He is also in awe of the greatness of it all, for “when there came a pause of silence such as baffled his best skill.” It was a wonder how he could stir nature so. Frost’s character was “far distant” from nature and “that was all.”


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