An Assumed Resolution of “The Fear” by Robert Frost:
“The Fear” by Robert Frost, is a suspense-filled text that is dominated by its confusing qualities. In true terrifying fashion, the scene of the action is set outside of the female narrator and her partner Joel’s house; however, the central spooky nature of the poem is less concrete. As the reader makes his or her way through the story, he or she discovers more and more about the woman’s personality. This personality is characterized by her anxiety and desire for control. With these qualities in mind, one can assume that the poem ends with her fainting on her own as a result of her overwhelming loss of the one thing she needs: control.
The woman’s anxious and controlling nature is highlighted multiple times throughout the poem. Her personality is best, and most prominently, shown through her relationship with Joel. Whether Joel is her husband, brother, son, or just someone she lives with, he contrasts directly with the woman in terms of anxiety. During the assessment of the situation, the woman spits out suspicious questions such as “What was he standing still for in the bushes?” In response, Joel offers his plausible, and apparently correct, theory that “it’s someone passing.” The difference in their dialogue and ideas only emphasizes the anxious nature of the woman. She is so uptight, that she inquires of the strange figure’s reason for standing still in the bushes. This question is a sure sign of anxiety, for a more stable person would have asked of much more pressing questions first, such as: who are you? In this contrast between her and Joel, her anxious nature is intensified to the reader. In addition to her anxious quality, the readers also closely experience her unnaturally controlling quality. This attribute is also prevalently observed through the interactions between her and Joel. Phrases such as “Don’t hold my arm!” and “You are not to come […] I’m the one to put I the right way” indicate that she functions under a system of her control over the situation and probably over their relationship. The fact the she had “pushed past him [Joel] and got it [the lantern] for herself” as she started upon her investigation of the figure, shows that her partner’s opinion could never override her desire to control. This attitude in conjunction with her anxious outlook provides a weird contrast within its self. Typically, the presence of anxiety does not aid in the establishment of control over a situation. This ludicrous mixture of the two is at the core of the theory that the narrator simple cracks at the end and faints on her own accord.
As the woman and Joel encounter the strange figure, she, naturally, is on an emotional roller coaster. Part of her conveys fear and pestering anxiety simply from the situation. This unknown figure has a potential to do a lot of damage. This potential raises the woman’s anxiety level as she goes from bossing around Joel to meekly asking the stranger basic inquiries such as: who are you? And, What do you want? In her frenzy of anxiety she expects the worst of the situation to be true. When she finds out that the stranger was just a person, she loses that control in relation to being right. With these weird mixes of emotions, the outcome could be that the woman faints on her own due to her internal wars. Her loss of control and heightened anxiety cause her to faint and result in the dropping of the lantern. The internal struggles are certainly worth observing, especially if the readers would like to predict the ending in an un-established ending.
Word Count: 618