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Vengeance in The Count of Monte Cristo

Vengeance in The Count of Monte Cristo

The corpse of Madame de Villefort lay stretched across the doorway leading to the room in which Edward’s lifeless body resided. Eyes filled with tears, the miserable M. de Villefort revealed the sorrowful scene to Dantes. After beholding the results of his revenge “Monte Cristo became pale at this horrible sight; he felt he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance, and that he could no longer say ‘God is for and with me.'”

Set in France during the turmoil of the Napoleonic Era, The Count of Monte Cristo is an intricate tale of obsession and revenge. Alexander Dumas uses brilliant language and spell binding characters in order to weave the plot together to form a masterpiece. Falsely accused of treason, Edmond Dantes, a young sailor with a promising future,is arrested on his wedding day and imprisoned on the island fortress of the Chateau d’If with no hope for release. Dantes is the victim of the envy of Danglars, the lust of Fernand, and the political ambition of Villefort. The selfishness of these three men separate Dantes …

An Analysis of Mending Wall

An Analysis of Mending Wall

Robert Frost once said that “Mending Wall” was a poem that was spoiled by being applied. What did he mean by “applied”? Any poem is damaged by being misunderstood, but that’s the risk all poems run. What Frost objects to, I think, is a reduction and distortion of the poem through practical use. When President John F. Kennedy inspected the Berlin Wall he quoted the poem’s first line: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” His audience knew what he meant and how the quotation applied. And on the other side of that particular wall, we can find another example of how the poem has been used. Returning from a visit to Russia late in his life, Frost said, “The Russians reprinted ‘Mending Wall’ over there, and left that first line off.” He added wryly, “I don’t see how they got the poem started.” What the Russians needed, and so took, was the poem’s other detachable statement: “Good fences make good neighbors.” They applied what they wanted. “I could’ve done better for them, probably,” Frost said, “for the generality, by saying:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

Something there is that does.

“Why didn’t I say that?” Frost asked rhetorically. “I didn’t mean that. I meant to leave that until later in the poem. I left it there.”

“Mending Wall” famously contains these two apparently conflicting statements. One begins the poem, the other ends it, and both are repeated twice. Which are we supposed to believe? What does Frost mean? “The secret of what it means I keep,” he said. Of course he was being cagey, but not without reason.

At a reading given at the Library of Congress in 1962 Frost told this anecdote:

In England, two or three years ago, Graham Greene said to me…

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…ating a similar moment each time it is encountered.

Works Cited and Consulted

Barry, Elaine. Robert Frost. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. 1973.

Robert Frost. “Mending Wall.” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. p106-107.

Gerber, Philip L. Robert Frost. Ed. Kenneth Eble. Boston: Twayne Publishers. 1982. 124-125

Lentricchia, Frank. Robert Frost: Modern Poetics and the Landscape of Self. Durham: Duke University Press. 1975. 103-107.

Zverev, A. A Lover’s Quarrel with the World: Robert Frost. 20th Century American Literature: A Soviet View. Translated by Ronald Vroon. Progress Publishers. 1976. 241-260. Rpt. in World Literature Criticism. Vol. 2. Ed. James P. Draper. Detroit: Gale Research Inc. 1992. 1298-1299.

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