Fire and Ice Class 10 NCERT English First Flight Poem Explanation, Summary, Difficult words
By Ruchika Gupta
CBSE Class 10 English Poem Explanation Notes
Fire and Ice Class 10 English First Flight Poem - Detailed explanation of the poem along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by the literary devices used and a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
Fire and Ice
By Robert Frost
Fire and Ice Poem Introduction
Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” expresses the profound idea that the world would end in either of two ways, either by ice or fire. Both the components are compared with self-destructing human emotions: hatred and desire. The poem, very artistically, underpins the philosophy that we let our emotions rule us and if don’t control them they will surely destroy everything around us. Similarly, he thinks fire and ice, both are just as competent in bringing the world to a catastrophic end.
Fire and Ice Class 10 CBSE English Poem Summary, Explanation, Question Answers - See Video
Fire and Ice - Poem and Explanation
Some say the world will end in fire
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
Desire- a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen
Favour- approval, support
The poem expresses the profound idea that the world would end in either of two ways, either by ice or fire. One group is of the opinion that someday the Earth’s core will get so heated up that it would lead to fire destroying the earth’s surface. On the other hand, the second group says that if the temperature goes down to an extent that makes life on Earth impossible, it would have the same catastrophic effect. The poet then compares fire and ice with the destructive features of human emotions; desire and hatred. He says that from what he is aware about “fiery desires”, he would favour the ones who say that it would be fire. By saying so, he brings about the idea that human beings let their emotions rule them and the consequence of unmonitored longing is chaos.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Suffice- be sufficient
Then by not waving off the first option of fire, he considers if the world has to expire twice, ice would be equally competent in ending it. He brings about a contrast between “ice” and “hatred”. The human capability of insensitivity and hatred has the potential for inner destruction. Though slow and steady, it has the same effect that desire has on us. So if given an option between fire and ice, ice would be just as good as fire to destroy the world.
Fire and Ice - Literary devices
1. Rhyming scheme- Aba
2. Assonance- it is repetition of vowel sounds in same line. The repetition is at different places in different words.
Example- The long sound of “o” in “I hold with those who favour fire”
3. Alliteration- alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound at the start of two or more closely placed words.
Example- The sound of “f” in “favour fire”, “w” in “world will”
4. Imagery- Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Example- “Some say the world will end in fire”
“To say that for destruction ice Is also great”
5. Anaphora- the repetition of a word or expression at the start of two or more consecutive lines.
Example - “Some say” is repeated at the start of lines 1 and 2.
6. Personification- Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. In this poem, “fire” and “ice” are capable of destruction. Thus, the poet personifies fire and ice by giving them mind and power to destroy anything.
7. Enjambment- it is defined as the thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break, rather it moves over to the next line.
Example- “From what I’ve tasted of desireI hold with those who favor fire”
Fire and Ice 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.
Fire and Ice Question and Answers
1. 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 got so hot that it ‘burst’, or grew colder and colder?
A. Unfortunately, the world is going to end one day and there is nothing we can do about it. There are many ideas as to how it will end but one can’t say surely. The reason that life exists only on Earth is that the circumstances and temperature is apt to make it possible. If the sun gets so hot one day that it is at the verge of bursting, it would lead to rapid destruction as there would be fire everywhere. Conversely, if it grows colder and colder, there will be ice everywhere on Earth and life in any form would not be able to sustain at such low temperatures.
2. For Frost, what do ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ stand for?
Here are some ideas:
A. According to Frost, ‘fire’ stands for greed, conflict, fury, cruelty, lust and avarice whereas ‘Ice’ stands for insensitivity, coldness, intolerance, indifference, rigidity and hatred.
3. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem? How does it help in bringing out the contrasting ideas in the poem?
A. The rhyme scheme of the poem is “aba abc bcb”. The poet has used the rhyming beautifully to bring about contrasting ideas in the poem. He has used the ideas of two groups who believe that the world would come to a catastrophic end either as a result of fire or ice. Simultaneously, he portrays these two essential components as features of destructive human emotions: desire and hatred. Just like fiery desires and icy hatred can cause damage to an individual in an irreparable manner, fire and ice can lead the world at the verge of chaos and thus, apocalypse.