ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Short and Sweet? Analysis of Frost's "Fire and Ice"

Updated on July 22, 2017

The saying goes, “less is more.” Many times an individual can make his point with the furrow of the brow and a mere handful of words as opposed to an encyclopedic dissertation. And often times the shorter is the better, as well as the deeper the impact. Literature is comprised of so many different forms, there is bound to be one to which a reader can bind and this is especially true in poetry. Over time and place, poetry has seen haikus to Shakespearean sonnets to Homeric epic poems. There is none that is better than another. However, one may ask do I need three lines to appreciate the meaning or 3000? This hub will analyze, using theme and character, the poem by Robert Frost entitled, “Fire and Ice.”

Frost’s poem, “Fire and Ice,” at first glance seems to be quite obvious. If the world was going to end, is it better for it to be in fire or in ice? In contrast to many of Frost’s poetry, “Fire and Ice” is quite short with only nine lines. The character from whose perspective the reader is seeing seems to have had enough life experience to determine that either fire or ice would be sufficient for the ending of the world. Thematically, the more obvious tone of this poem will always strike a chord within a reader and that is one reason it is such a great piece of literature. Frost has brought to the forefront of the reader’s mind a topic which will never cease to spark controversy, at that is the ending of the world, or the apocalypse or Armageddon or whatever one may call it. While tastefully hinting at other great literature, such as the Christian bible as well as Dante’s Inferno, Frost has successfully accomplished his task of controversy, contemplation and the question of truth all in a short but sweet nine lines.

In addition to the controversy of the end of the world, Frost’s “Fire and Ice” has undertones of conflicting human emotion. Frost gives attributes to the emotions of love or passion as well as hate. He writes, “From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire,” and also, “I think I know enough of hate / To say that for destruction ice / Is also great” (1403). Frost has managed to integrate two thought provoking elements into this poem; the end of the world as well as the strength of human emotion. Being able to do this in such a subtle manner is yet another reason this piece of literature is so successful. Readers can relate to either the fiery blaze of desire that cannot be contained or even the frigid hardness of rejection and hate. Being that the world and the people in it can rage with both fire and ice, Frost’s speaker has determined both are adequate means to the end.

A successful author or poet has the ability to provoke thought and emotion in his reader. The amazing aspect of literature is that there are so many forms and methods in which to do it. Why not do in nine lines what you can in 3000?

Works Cited

Frost, Robert. “Fire and Ice.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Baym, Nina. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. Page 1403.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)