This is an explication that I did for my AP World Literature Class. I had trouble finding any real explication of this poem online, so I decided to put this up. Feel free to use this explication for a research source,or if you want to you could just copy and paste the whole thing and use that(it comes out to a little over six pages using 12, Times New Roman). Hope this helps, please leave comments if you think I left something important out or if you have any questions that I left unanswered.
These are the last two lines of the second stanza and they tie directly into the first two lines. You have the mention again of the one intake of fire meaning it only happened once with the miraculous creation of Adam from dust. From that miraculous creation all of creation keeps on living. To suspire means to breathe, this is necessary for life and survival. Through this one act of God in creation, Adam, all of living creation, still survives and thrives. By creating Adam, God created a creature that was to govern over the world and be a good steward of it.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
“And if men have watched a long time/ And never seen sun-smitten slime/ Again come to life and crawl off,/ We not be too ready to scoff.” Lines 9-12
In this stanza the speaker again changes from talking from the perspective of a biblical creationist, to someone who has some sympathies towards Darwinian evolution. Again sun is mentioned in this stanza and again it is talking about sun creating life or giving energy to something. In this stanza the speaker talks about how just because we haven’t seen something that absolutely proves evolution does not mean that we can just write that off either. You weren’t there it would have been impossible for you to be there, to see the first stage of life clamber up out of the evolutionary soup that had been formed through millions of years. It would then get up and wriggle away to discover which part of itself needed to be modified and changed by its descendants to better survive. Since you were not there when this all happened then you cannot absolutely denied that it happened. This idea is central to the whole point of why this poem was written, so it is fitting that this idea of not laughing and looking at the other side’s opinion as stupid is put forward in the third stanza out of the five that are in this poem. By putting this stanza in the center Frost is drawing attention to this central idea in the poem and he is trying to make sure that people see what he is trying to say by writing this poem. Frost was tired of people arguing about how creationism was right or how evolution was irrefutably correct; he wanted to express how we can’t know how it happened because we are just people. Not one of the people who are alive today, or in Frost’s time, were there present at the creation/evolutionary starting point so not one person can really absolutely know what happened and how it happened. Frost didn’t like both sides criticizing and making the other side out to be a bunch of idiots because he felt that everyone should be allowed to express their opinions. He would listen to everything and anything someone had an opinion on and he would allow them to finish and then he would decide for himself if their view was reasonable or not (Stanlis). This stanza also has some strange order in the wording, otherwise known as syntax. We see this especially in line 12 and the phrase, “We not be too ready to scoff”. We also seen alliteration in line 10 and “seen sun-smitten slime”.
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