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A Literary Explication on the Poem "A Girl's Garden" by Robert Frost

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Running head: A LITERARY EXPLICATION ON THE POEM "A GIRL'S

A Literary Explication on the Poem "A Girl's Garden" by Robert Frost

Galen College of Nursing

A Literary Explication on the Poem "A Girl's Garden" by Robert Frost
Even people who are not a connoisseur of poetry are familiar with Robert Frost and his works. Even though he was a very complex man who kept to himself he excelled in poetry. He found success in poetry that few poets are able to achieve. He lived from 1874-1963. Living most of his life in the New England area, his poems reflects the New England life style and ways of thinking. The poem “A Girl’s Garden” was written in 1916 by Frost. (Meyer, 2008, pg. 1118-1136). The narrator in this poem is unknown. It is told in first person reflecting on a neighbor that tells the same story to all the new people that she meets. A sweet poem with many thoughts and values hid away in the stanza makes the reader reflect on their childhood and experiences of achieving independence. Although the little girl in the poem thought she was starting on an adventure that was fun and exciting, her father was truly teaching her a lesson of independence and hard work. As child, many children venture into doing large projects without thinking about all the hard work that is put into the end product. This is much like the young girl in the poem that decides that she wants to grow her own garden. Without batting an eye her father finds her a small piece of land to place her garden. However, not only did she have to plant her garden but she had to work up the land on her own. Such a big challenge for a small little girl but she took the challenge full force. The father was teaching his daughter that not all things come easy. In life many times things that are wanted adults have to work very hard for. When working hard for things there is a far greater appreciation for end accomplishments. Being rewarded for hard work is a gratifying achievement. The daughter was learning that with hard work and consistency the outcomes and rewards are much greater. Quickly the little girl found that gardening was much more than just breaking dirt and planting. She had to work with the not so pleasant side too. “She wheeled the dung in the wheelbarrow along a stretch of road; but she always ran away and left her not- nice load.” (Frost, 1916, line 20). She had to run from the “dung” because it smelled so bad but she was too embarrassed to let anyone see her run. Even though she did not like the smells she kept up with her task. To make a good garden grow she had to have fertilizer. The father was teaching his daughter that in life there are always things that are not fun. There will always be things that need to be done that are not the most glamorous. By doing those things the end result is better. What if the little girl had not fertilized her garden? Would it have grown? The answer is yes, it would have probably grown but would the vegetable have been as good? In short, the answer is probably not. Although she had an idea of a garden, much like a child, her ideas were scattered. She had a large variety of seeds, randomly planting many things in her garden. The garden was bearing many different fruits and vegetable but not enough of any particular one to amount to anything. “Her crop was very miscellany when all was said and done, a little bit of everything, a great deal of none.” (Frost, 1916, Line 35). She found that she had many things to grow but not enough to make much of anything. She was learning the steps of planning and carrying out task instead of just random thoughts and actions. Would her garden have been better if she had picked her favorite things and only planted them? Then she would have been able to enjoy more of the specific thing instead of the large variety with little to go around. As an adult the little girl watches others gardening; however, the reader is left with the impression that she does not do her own. It also seems that she does not think she is the expert at gardening and does not try to help others with theirs. “’ It’s as when I was a farmer-‘Oh, never by way of advice!” (Frost, 1916, Line 45). Even if the she does not garden anymore and is not a farmer she has taken away many valuable lessons from her brief adventures as a gardener. She learned lessons that will be lifelong and that will impact her decisions forever.
As a reader, it is almost like you can see her father in the background watching this unfold. Even though he really is not much of a character in the poem physically his way of molding her is throughout. When she asked him for a garden plot he did not look at her and say “you are too little!” Instead he found her a spot that she had to put a lot of work into. Even saying to her, “’And give you a chance to put some strength on you slim- jim arm’” (Frost, 1916, Line 15). Not only was she putting strength on her physical self but also her decision making skills and adding to her values and work ethics. Amazing to see how many things can come out of a little girl growing a garden and how it can impact her for the rest of her life. Just like she said, “That a cider apple tree in bearing there today is hers, or at least may be.” (Frost, 1916, line 34). Just like her experience that goes on, so does the apple tree that was planted many years ago.

References
Frost, R. (1916). “A Girl’s Garden”. In The Bedford Introduction to Literature (pp. 1136-1137). Boston, MA: Bedfords/ St. Martin’s.
Meyer, M. (2008). A Study of Robert Frost. In The Bedford Introduction to Literature (pp. 1117-1156). Boston, MA: Bedford/ St Martin’s.

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