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Range Finding

Sonnet Essay: “Range-Finding” Robert Frost is a well-known poet in America, expressing his philosophy through his works. Frost has strong opinions regarding major issues such as war and nature. He addresses these two themes in a poem entitled “Range-Finding”, written in 1916 during the time of World War One. Frost conveys his beliefs through this sonnet’s generic considerations as well as the form, meter, rhyme scheme, figures of speech, and structure. Through its generic considerations and various elements of prosody, “Range-Finding” depicts the character of war and its far-reaching effects on its surroundings, specifically nature. Range-finding is a technique still used by the military today whereby attempts are made to fire large weapons accurately over long distances. It is a process of trial and error in which unintended areas are hit by test rounds. Eventually the various adjustments will hopefully result in an accurate shot which hits the intended target. Frost chooses such a title to call to the attention of his audience the fact that war is anything but perfect, involving many corrections and mistakes. The errors in war have serious consequences found even on the most minute levels of life. The poem’s first three lines contain nearly every action attributed to the battle. In the first line of the poem the battle “rent[s]”(“Range”, 1), or rips, a cobweb. The second line describes how a bullet “cut[s] a flower beside a groundbird’s nest”(“Range”, 2). The battle’s final action occurs in the third line, where it “stain[s] a single human breast”(“Range”, 3). The diction of the three verbs (rent, cut, and stained) is intentional, all sudden and brief in nature. The actions are also not overly graphic, and, in the case of the words “rent”(“Range”, 1) and “stained”(“Range”, 3), are deliberate understatements. Frost is trying to pull the attention a...

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Range Finding. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:01, September 02, 2014, from