Both that we put on the world. ¨Man


 

Both Frost and
Schwartz have written poems that tackle the idea of being bear-like and have
both represented bears in a distinct manner. Despite both being Americans who
produced their work in the early part of the 20th century. The pair have associated
themselves differently with the bear and the way in which it can be compared to
humans and their characteristics.

 

Robert Frosts
´The Bear´ is a deep poem, one that makes you question the way you personally
view the world. His couplet rhyming scheme creates a fluid rhythm when reading
his work. Frosts poem is very visible to the reader, through the use of
anthropomorphism and imagery, you feel that his work is painting a story, ¨As
she flings over and off down through the maples¨.

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Throughout the
poem he is comparing the man to the animal, describing the two similar in their
movements, ¨Tis only to sit back and sway his head”. Yet portraying the bear as
one that makes uncaged progress while man is the one feeling caged within the
self-confined limits that we put on the world. ¨Man acts more like the poor
bear in a cage¨. Frost draws up quite the image of the bumbling bear who
creates his own path, made up of instincts. Unlike the pompous men of science
who for them ¨The universe seems cramped¨. Frost is influencing the reader to
be more bearlike, to roam the room available for us men. To not imprison
yourself by your own understanding, but enjoy what the world has to offer, to
break out of your cage, to become the bear.

 

´The Heavy
Bear Who Goes with Me´ by Delmore Schwartz uses the bear to convey a different issue
in his writing. He provides a clear theme to the poem as he subtitles his work
with the phrase ¨the withness of the body¨, meaning the state of being close or
connected to someone, in this instance, the bear. Throughout the irregular
three stanzas of the poem, the speaker personifies his own body through this
beast. The ¨heavy bear¨ accompanies the speaker wherever he goes ¨breathing at
my side¨, it seems to be an active existence next to the speaker. The Bear is
represented as a no-good character, who was ¨In love with candy, anger and
sleep¨, his actions seem to be compulsive and a burden to the character. The
speaker refers to the bear as a ¨factotum¨, a person who acts for another, in
this case the Bear is acting on behalf of the narrator. The metaphorical
meaning being portrayed by Schwartz would imply that the writer didn’t like a
part of his personality, the part he couldn’t shake off and he expressed this
part of himself as the bear throughout the poem, ¨That inescapable animal walks
with me¨.

Unlike Frost,
Schwartz´s idea of being bear-like is not represented as a free roaming beast,
but rather something that weighs you down, a part of your life you would rather
live without, ¨ With whom I would walk without him near¨. 

 

Both poets had
distinctly different views on the bear and the idea of being bear-like. One portrays
the animal as someone who sees the world as what it is, a vast landscape away from
the limits humans put on it, while the other uses the bear as an anthropomorphic
animal to express a part of him he doesn´t like. Either way they give an
unmistakeably human aspect to the idea of being bear like and what it may
represent. 

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