“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost is about how everyone needs a barrier. Without one, people would be vulnerable and easy to target, easy to hurt. Then you have “Fire and Ice,” which is also by Robert Frost. It is about the two arguments of how the world may end. It is either going to be full of flames and everyone will burn, or it is going to freeze. The theme of “Mending Wall,” is that nature is powerful. That could also be said for “Fire and Ice.” The author built the theme of nature in each of these poems using imagery and symbol.
Imagery is the use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas (The Free Dictionary). In “Mending Wall,” there are many examples of imagery. One of them is “We wear our fingers rough with handling them.” The speaker is building with his hands and he is saying how tired and beat up his hands are going to be from working so hard. Imagery is used to paint the reader a picture and tell a story. What stands out is when Frost writes, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” This stands out because it is repeated again in the poem, and it is also the first line. When a line, word, or phrase is repeated, it needs to be looked at carefully because there is most likely going to be some importance. You can take away that nature is what does not love the wall because every spring the speaker and his/her neighbor have to rebuild the wall because it has crumbled to the ground. If nature wanted it there, they would not have to constantly keep rebuilding it every year. It would just stay standing. The use of imagery in this poem is really important because it makes the reader see exactly what is happening as they are reading the poem. You can see the “loaves” and the stone wall being built in your mind. You can see the speaker putting a spell on the stone to make it stay, and the speaker laughing alone as the neighbor does not laugh at his humor.
In “Fire and Ice,” there is also the use of imagery. “Some say the world will end in fire,” is one example. Imagery is used to make the reader really think and be left with the question of how the world will really end. Will it end with fire, or ice? At first, the speaker says he agrees with the side of fire, but at the end of the poem he realizes that ice can be just as harmful. Freezing and burning are two very unpleasant things, and it is hard to pick one over the other. Imagery is important in this poem because when the words “Some say the world will end in fire,” appear, the reader is forced to see in their mind, a world of flames. It is horrendous. When he says “Some say in ice,” you see an ice age. You see a frozen, still world.
Symbol is something that represents something else by association, representation, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible. (The Free Dictionary). In “Mending Wall,” one of the symbols is the fences. In the poem, the line “Good fences make good neighbors,” is repeated multiple times. The fences are a symbol of that barrier that everyone has around them. No one wants to be completely exposed. When something can hide who someone truly is, they will feel more comfortable because there is something in front of them that is hiding who they really are or whatever it is that they do not want everyone to see. Without that barrier, people would stand defenseless. Everyone needs some type of armor, even if it is invisible to the naked eye.
In “Fire and Ice,” the symbol is the ice. “Some say in ice,” does not literally mean cold. The speaker goes on to say “I think I know enough of hate/To say that for destruction ice/Is also great.” Since the word “hate” is added to the poem, there is reason to believe that the ice is not actual cold from weather; it is from the cold hearts of everyone. The hate people have for each other can ultimately be the cause of the end of the earth. To prevent the world from ending in ice, people need to be more loving and warm-hearted. In both poems, symbol is used to hide a deeper meaning. It makes the reader really think hard about the meaning of the poem.
The use of imagery and symbol are used in each poem to build the theme of nature. Each poem talks about something nature related, and each is about the destruction of nature. In “Mending Wall,” you see that nature does not want the wall there since it is being taken down by the forces of nature every year. People should take their barriers down sometimes and let people get to know them more often. The connections people make with others means a lot and that is how they get to where they end up in the world. In “Fire and Ice,” you see that the world may end in either fire or ice. Right there is an example of the destruction of nature. In one case, ice, the world will end from hatred. There is not enough love in the world, and that could end up leading to the end of the earth. In both poems, human connections are what is considered when talking about nature. Barriers are there for people to take down. Only take them down for people who matter. Hate is strong, and if everyone keeps hating each other, the world is going to be a cold and lonely place.