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10th English NCERT: First Flight - Footprints without feet

Fire and Ice Poem: 10th Class CBSE English Chapter 13

Fire and Ice Poem: 10th Class NCERT CBSE English ‘First Flight’ Chapter 13

Question: There are many ideas about how the world will ‘end’. Do you think the world will end some day? Have you ever thought what would happen if the Sun gets so hot that it ‘bursts’ or grows colder and colder?

Answer: There are definitely many ideas about how the world will ‘end’. I do believe that the world will end some day as anything that has a beginning will have an end. This stands true for the world also, if the Sun got so hot that it burst, the whole of the Earth would perish immediately as no part of the Earth can bear the heat of that intensity. But if the Sun grew colder and colder, everything will come to an end as without sunlight, life will end.

Question: For Frost, what do ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ stand for? Here are some ideas

Greed                Avarice             Cruelty                Lust
Conflict                Fury               Intolerance        Rigidity
Insensitivity       Coldness           Indifference       Hatred

Answer: ‘Fire’ stands for greed, avarice, lust, conflict and fury. ‘Ice’ stands for cruelty, intolerance, rigidity, insensitivity, coldness, indifference and hatred.

Question: What is the rhyme scheme of the poem? How does it help in bringing out the contrasting ideas in the poem?

Answer: The rhyme scheme of the poem is – a b a a b c b c b

This rhyme scheme helps in bringing out the contrasting ideas of ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ presented in the poem. The poet mentions that both fire and ice are probable ends of this world. He talks about how fire represents desire and can therefore be a cause of the end of the world. Frost also mentions ice in between to symbolize that the coldness and indifference towards one another will be enough to end the world. In the second stanza, he says that he knows of enough hate in the world to be sure that even destruction through ice . would be sufficient to bring about the end of the world.

Fire and Ice Poem: Summary

Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” is a strong symbolic poem where fire is used as the emotion of desire and ice, that of hatred. He has used the idea of two groups who have their own possible explanation for the end of the world. One is of the opinion that fire alone, can destroy each and every possibility of life on Earth while the other thinks that if ice as a result of extreme low temperatures could cover the earth’s surface, it would lead to the end of the world. Both the components are compared with self-destructing human emotions: desire and hatred. The poet is originally of the opinion that he has been very closely associated with the “fiery desires” and considers it capable of bringing human beings on the verge of destruction. Thus, he considers fire as more competent for destruction. But then he thinks that “icy hatred” is just as capable of ruining humans, though slowly and steadily. Therefore, if Earth was to end twice, ice would be just as good as fire. If fire would lead to rapid destruction, ice would lead to silent damage. Similarly, if fire is pure passion, ice is pure reason. Thus, the poem, very artistically, underpins the philosophy that we let our emotions rule us and if don’t control them they will surely bring us all on the verge of chaos.

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