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Lukas Nabergall 9/7/2012 Period 6 An Analysis of Nothing Gold Can Stay Change is the most fundamental driving force

of life and existence, and few works of literature fully express this as succinctly as Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost. Using only eight lines of rhymed verse, Frost takes readers on a reflective journey about the sad, but constant, descent from idealistic perfection to a state of lesser beauty and joy. This sort of evolution is inherent in many processes found in nature, including human life, and Frost reveals this through his use of poetic devices such as diction, allusion, tone and paradox. The poem begins with a trochee but the majority is in iambic trimeter, emphasizing the importance of nature and its role as a conscious person throughout the poem. This also insinuates that nature is either a prominent theme or the primary metaphor for the underlying idea of the poem. Also in the first line is a paradox; green cannot be literarily be gold. Gold is a beautiful color and a symbol of goodness and perfection, so the underlying meaning behind the paradox is that in the beginning nature is beautiful and perfect. Frost immediately follows this with a line declaring that this is a the most difficult state for nature to hold, emphasized by an alliteration with words beginning with the letter h. This sound is very soft, giving the line a sad tone, but at the same time stressing the hardness of holding the state of perfection. The third line again emphasizes the idea that early on nature is beautiful and perfect, with a metaphor comparing a leaf to a flower. This idea of perfection initially found in nature parallels many aspects of life, especially how children are considered innocent and free of corruption. Frost then indicates a transition in the poem with the word But, and the proceeding hyperbole insinuates that the perfection found in nature only last a brief while (4). Frost says, Then leaf subsides to leaf; this is a reference to the third line in which he stated that natures early leafs a flower, therefore he is really saying that flower subsides to leaf (4). This, which can

Lukas Nabergall be interpreted as communicating the loss of innocence as a child becomes an adult and experiences the real world, causes the events of the next two lines. In the Bible, God placed the first man and women, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, a place of infinite happiness and immortality. Although they were forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil by God, they disobeyed and thus were expelled from the Garden and their perfect life was lost. Frost alludes to this biblical tale in sixth line, explaining how the early perfection of nature and life is quickly lost and corrupted by the imperfect world. This is emphasized by the last line which describes dawn descending to day, a paradoxical metaphor for the loss of perfection and beauty. Finally the last line restates the title of the poem, summarizing its hidden meaning. Nothing Gold Can Stay is a reflective poem describing, via an extended comparison with nature, the descent from the perfection of early life to the corrupted, imperfect nature of adulthood. To Frost, the loss of innocence is an inevitable and saddening process of human life.