Astonishment Essay

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Perkins teaches American and British literature and film. In this essay, Perkins examines the questions the poem raises on the complex nature of existence.

In Robert Frost's poem "Design," the speaker describes a scene that occurs regularly in nature. A moth is attracted to a flower, and after landing on it, is quickly consumed by a spider that has been lying there in wait for its next meal. The speaker offers a contradictory response to this event, considering it to be a natural part of the cycle of life as it "begins the morning right," yet at the same time, finding something sinister in these "assorted characters of death and blight."

In the second stanza, the speaker questions how and why this incident occurred. He asks what brought the spider and the moth together at the same specific moment, and what this death scene suggests about the laws...

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This section contains 1,283 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Astonishment Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Astonishment from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.