Nature explored in Design by Robert Frost and The Shark by E.J. Pratt

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“Design”, by Robert Frost, and “The Shark”, by E.J. Pratt, are two poems in which the idea of nature can be contrasted. By focusing on nature within the poems, two different outlooks on the topic of nature are revealed. In the poem “Design”, life forms within nature are viewed as natural, connected, and under the influence of a larger consciousness. Conversely, in the poem “The Shark”, life forms are viewed as separate from nature, mechanical, and under their own influence. Contrasting these poems shows the variance of views concerning the interaction of animals within nature. On one hand, the poem by Frost, “Design” explains the situation of a spider on a flower holding a moth. In this petrarchan formed poem it is explained in the octave that these entities are white and that the moth is dead, killed by the spider. In the sestet the speaker questions what brought these things together when it’s pondered, “what brought the kindred spider to that height” (Frost 11) and “steered the white moth” (Frost 12). The couplet poses the question of an evil influence on natural design leaving the reader with a problem of having to decide what controlled or caused this event. In the poem by Pratt, nature and influence are viewed very differently by the speaker. The speaker is watching a shark swim about leisurely in the harbour. Various similes are used comparing the shark to hard metallic, industrial type items such as, “sheet – iron” (Pratt 4). Throughout the poem similes are continually used to describe what the speaker is seeing. Unlike Frost’s poem there is no questioning of the meaning of the shark or its actions, instead a repetitive description of the shark actions as well as more similes comparing the shark to very modern metallic objects. In Frosts poem the establishment of a white heal – all flower, white spider, and a white moth brings about the question of

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