TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS SOLVED
THINKING ABOUT THE POEM
This poem presents a moment that seems simple, but has a larger significance. (Compare the other quotation from Robert Frost: ‘‘Always, always a larger significance… A little thing touches a larger thing.’’)
Question 1.What is a “dust of snow?” What does the poet say has changed his mood? How has the poet’s mood changed?
Ans. A dust of snow are snow flakes or small and soft particles of snow that settle over various objects on the earth. The dust of snow shook down by a crow on the poet from a hemlock tree changed his mood. The poet’s mood has changed for the better. Earlier he was in a sad and depressed mood. But now he is in a joyful and cheerful mood.
Question 2. How does Frost present nature in this poem? The following questions may help you to think of an answer:
(i) What are the birds that are usually named in poems? Do you think a crow is often mentioned in poems? What images come in your mind when you think of a crow?
(ii) Again, what is “a hemlock tree”? Why doesn’t the poet write about a more ‘beautiful’ tree such as maple, or an oak, or a pine?
(iii) What do the ‘crow’ and ‘hemlock’ represent—joy or sorrow? What does the dust of snow that the crow shakes off a hemlock tree stand for?
Ans. The poet presents nature both in its brighter and darker aspects. The snow-covered objects on the earth look very beautiful. On the other hand, the crow is an ugly bird and is regarded as inauspicious.
(i) The birds that are usually mentioned in poems are cuckoos, nightingales, robins—all song birds. Crow is not mentioned in poems because it is an ugly bird. Besides, the cawing of a crow is very jarring, the images that come in the mind are that the crow is an ugly bird. It is also considered inauspicious.
(ii) A hemlock tree is a poisonous plant. It stands for sorrow. The poet does not write about a more beautiful tree because he wants to present the darker aspect of nature.
(iii) The crow and the hemlock represent sorrow. They represent the darker aspect of nature. They create an atmosphere of depression and sorrow. The dust of snow represents the brighter aspect of nature. It has brought about a change in the mood of the poet. Earlier he was in a sad mood but when the dust of snow fell on him his mood became joyful and cheerful.
Question 3. Have there been times when you feel depressed or hopeless? How you experience a similar moment that changed your mood that day?
Ans. Yes, there have been several occasions when I have felt hopeless and depressed. I felt very depressed when one of my friends told me that I had failed the examination. But then he told me that he was simply joking and that I had stood first in the class. This changed my mood and I jumped with joy.