“The Gift Outright” by Robert Frost, tracing the American
history of colonialism and westward expansion and asking for the development of the United States, was first written a few months after the United States entered the World War II in 1936 but was recited until January 20, 1961 during the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. (Cited from baidu.com & google.com)
(At first, Robert Frost decided to recite to the poem “Dedication” at the inauguration, but he was so old and
had poor eyesight that could not read the that poem at all; this incidence made “The Gift Outright” rise to fame forthwith and influenced hundreds and thousands of people. Cited from google.com)
Robert Frost exerted his minds and perspectives, serving as American poetic impulses, on “The Gift Outright” to reduce people to reflect about the history, to learn from the history, and to memorize the history.
At the very beginning, the poet used two paradoxes, “the land was ours” and” we were the land’s” and “possessing
what” and “possessed by”, to not only illustrate that the
England governed Americans for around one hundred years before the “colonials” found their own identity- to
struggle for their own freedom, but also alert people to memorize that time by heart. This is an arduous but initiative time of period, since it marked the beginning of an independent nation and the end of depend humiliation. After driving the British out of their land, free people set out to expand their own lands, develop their own culture without the influence of England.
Then ancestors of Americans really went to great lengths to revolt for their “New Moon”. From line eight to
line eleven, “Something we were withholding made us
weak until we found out that it was ourselves. We were withholding from our land of living, and forthwith found salvation in surrender”, the poet told a story of reforming- people set off to smooth the obstacles set up not only by invaders, but also that of their own hearts and minds. They, Americans, possessed these lands; they ought to salve themselves from torture, slavery, and dictatorship. The ownership, the freedom, and the liberty are the destinies of every human being.
It all looked as if ancestors had put an end of the dark history to the United States and the tone of the poem should change from graveness to delight, but in line thirteen “The deed of gift was many deeds of war” the poet
pushed the poem to another stage of reflection; the poet was saddened by the deaths caused by the war. The resolution of the nation had given rise to death of a great
deal of people engaging to better the country. After mourning for the dead the poet reckoned while probing and developing art, enhanced, and storied lands, individuals should still inscribe the dark and unfortunate memory in their minds to remind them on and off. “Such
as she was, such as she would become”, she would be
“she” again if people forgot to meditate and reflect
regularly and forgot the lessons and spirits learned through the revolutions.
In a nutshell, though the poem is a celebration work of American memory, its overall tone is grave and depressed. The depressed words, to some extent, serve a better way to enlighten every single individual to profoundly reflect from the past and spare no efforts to better pioneer the future.
Through “The Gift Outright”, poet laureate Robert Forest,
a lightning rod, depicted the country events reminding people of American past history. Delivering poems related to his country, Forest, like other poet laureates, never fail to use his thoughts and memories as poetic impulses to endow human beings with opportunities to reflect, to remember, and to revive as well as help them realize the beauty of poems and enhance their capacity of
appreciating the poems.