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Literature / A Further Range

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A Further Range is a 1936 poetry collection by Robert Frost.

It is an eclectic mix ranging from long dramatic monologues to epigrams as short as two sentences. Like everything else he wrote, it's an ode to Hollywood New England, with apple trees, flowing streams, and farmers chopping wood. Additionally however, this group of poems, written in the 1930s as America struggled through The Great Depression, touches on themes of poverty as well as the urban/rural divide (siding, as Frost always did, with the rural).

Notable poems in this collection include "In Dives' Dive", "Two Tramps in Mud Time", and "Provide, Provide".


  • The City vs. the Country: "A Roadside Stand" mourns how poor country folk "are to be bought out and mercifully gathered in" to the city where they'll "sleep the sleep all day" because they have nothing to do.
  • Down on the Farm: As usual, a big theme in Frost poetry. "The Strong Are Saying Nothing" uses the metaphor of a farmer plowing his field and wondering if it will grow, comparing that to wondering about the afterlife.
  • Dowsing Device: "Two Tramps in Mud Time" is set in April. The speaker notes that while in summertime one might have to search for water "with a witching wand", in April the stream is full.
  • Either/Or Title: The first section is titled "Thinking Doubly", and features a series of longer poems. Each one has an either-or title. The first poem in the book, "A Lone Striker", is subtitled "or, Without Prejudice to Industry".
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: In "Iris by Night" a rainbow, somehow formed by the moon ("a very small moon-made prismatic bow") forms itself into a ring and encircles a pair of young lovers.
  • Hobos: "Two Tramps in Mud Time" has the speaker chopping wood, when two tramps come out of the forest and sort of linger around, waiting for him to ask them to chop his firewood for pay. The speaker, who likes chopping wood, is irritated.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In short poem "The Wrights' Biplane" Frost couldn't resist saying of the Wright brothers' name that "Time cannot get that wrong,/For it was writ in heaven doubly Wright."
  • Insect Queen: In "Departmental" an ant queen gives orders for the solemn burial of an ant who died foraging.
  • Miniscule Rocking: Chapter "Ten Mills" includes very short poems, some as short as two lines. "The Span of Life" runs, in its entirety: "The old dog barks backward without getting up,/I can remember when he was a pup".
  • Randomly Reversed Letters: "A Roadside Stand" is about roadside fruit stands in farm country, with signs that have "N turned wrong and S turned wrong." The urban drivers sneer at the yokels, but the poem is (naturally) written with sympathy for the farmers that just want a little of the success that popular culture suggests should be theirs.
  • Riddle for the Ages: In-Universe in closing poem "A Missive Missile". The speaker contemplates an ancient cave painting and wishes he could understand it. He imagines the ghost of the painter watching him and getting irritated at his failure to catch on.
  • Semi-Divine: "The Bearer of Evil Tidings" has the protagonist visit "the land of the Yak" somewhere in the Himalayas. He learns that a Chinese princess, promised to a prince in marriage, was instead abandoned there when she was impregnated by a god. Her half-divine son founded a line of kings.
  • Sonnet: Some of his poems, like "Design", are sonnets in the Petrarchian style rather than the more common (in English, anyway) Shakespearean style.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: In "A Lone Striker" a factory worker shows up late for his shift and finds himself locked out as punishment, docked pay for a half hour. He decides to forget about work and go walking in the woods instead.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: The rather sexist "Provide, Provide" says that the "witch" or "withered hag" who comes to mop up the steps "Was once the beauty Abishag,/ The picture pride of Hollywood."
  • Wicked Wasps: In "The White-Tailed Hornet" the speaker talks about how a hornet stung him in the woodshed (where its nest is) until he had to run for it. He then notes that the hornet is much better behaved when it comes to his house, looking for flies.