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AS/A Level English Literature > Love and a Question > Flashcards

Flashcards in Love and a Question Deck (13)
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Modernist poem written in 1913. Robert Frost wrote about rural life in New England



Ballad wrote to remind and remember dilemmas of love


"A Stranger came to the door at eve,
And he spoke the bridegroom fair."

Abrupt opening. Hook to draw the reader in. "Stranger" is capitalised making it more general. "Fair" could relate to him being handsome or description of moral quality.


"He bore a green-white stick in his hand,
And, for all burden, care. "

Stranger has disability or is old. Green could represent moral growth. White could represent hope or purity. Zeugma - burdened with "care ". Represents troubled lives humans live. Something mysterious and supernatural about stranger.


"He asked with the eyes more than the lips
For a shelter for the night,
And he turned and looked at the road afar
Without a window light."

Conveys request without speaking. Warmth of home contrasts with road which offers no comfort. "For a shelter" relates to Christian fables. Morally right thing to do to help him.


"The bridegroom came forth into the porch
With, 'Let us look at the sky,
And question what of the night to be,
Stranger, you and I.' "

"look at the sky" means he looking for answers. Involves the man in the weather which may be cowardice. Detracts from the strangers main purpose. "you and I" represents bridegroom's inner self or difficult moral choices humans have to make. Takes the middle ground. Doesn't invite him in nor send him away.


"The woodbine leaves littered the yard,
The woodbine berries were blue,
Autumn, yes, winter was in the wind; "

"littered" could be a metaphor for the untidiness of life, the endless cycle of life and decay. "Berries were blue" shows Autumn but the berries are poisonous and can cause irritation and fatalities. "Winter was in the wind" there is a change in season. Suggests the occurrence could happen in any season.


" 'Stranger, I wish I knew.' "

Indecision. Dilemma is never resolved.


"Within, the bride in the dusk alone
Bent over the open fire,
Her face rose-red with the glowing coal
And the thought of the heart's desire."

Competing demands. Bride waiting for husband. "Rose-red" could represent sexual desire, youthful beauty or modesty. He is impatient to go back to her. Definitive article "the" refers to their need for each other. "Fire" and the rhyme scheme represents heat of passion and eagerness. The female was expected to be a virgin on wedding night.


"The bridegroom looked at the weary road,
Yet saw but her within,"

Conflict within him. "Weary road" can't compete in his minds eye.


"And wished her heart in a case of gold
And pinned with a silver pin."

Gold and silver have high value. Bridegroom prizes new wife. Devalued by appearance of stranger. Preserve her and reject the demands she could make. Inanimate objects suggest objectification and control. Desire for sex with the pin being a phallic symbol.


"The bridegroom thought it little to give
A dole of bread, a purse,
A heartfelt prayer for the poor of God,
Or for the rich a curse;"

Compromises with food, money and prayer. "Rich a curse" references himself. He is wealthy compared to the stranger who has nothing. "Heartfelt" sounds sincere but could be sarcastic.


"But whether or not a man was asked
To mar the love of two
By harboring woe in the bridal house,
The bridegroom wished he knew."

"Man was asked" sounds supernatural like a higher being placed him there I.E God to disrupt and spoil a marriage or urge him to make a moral choice. Bridegroom doesn't know why he was there.