A Roadside Stand Summary by Robert Frost

Robert Frost, a highly acclaimed American poet, in his poems usually focused, on the themes of human tragedies and fears and their ultimate acceptance or their solution.

In his poem, ‘A Roadside Stand’ he deals with the lives of poor deprived people of the villages with a clarity that is perceptive and at the same time portrays his deepest sympathies and his feelings of humanity.

The poem also brings in to focus the unfortunate fact that progress and development are unequal between the cities and the villages leading to feelings of distress and unhappiness among the dwellers of the latter.

In the poem, the poet describes the feelings of the owners of a roadside shed who seem to wait interminably for those whizzing past, their house in their shiny cars, to stop and buy something from the shack-some fruit, some humble vegetables, or even stop and rest in the beautiful mountainscape.

They long for the feel of hard currency that is a symbol of poverty alleviation in their lives of deprivation. It appears to be a vain hope, however, that those who do glance their way are either reproachful of the blot on the landscape, their shed, that seems to mar the beauty of the landscape, or stop to ask for directions.

Some use the space to turn their cars around unmindful of the damage to their turf. The poet is outraged at the callous attitude of the government, the civic authorities and the social service agencies who appear to help them but actually end up harming them.

The news says that these poor people are to be relocated to the vicinity of the towns near the theatre and the shops. There they will be well looked after and will have nothing worrisome to think about.

The poet, however, regards this as a great disservice to the people who will be thus robbed of their voices and their freedom and ability to find solutions to their problems.

Lulled into oblivion by this false and perhaps short-lived sense of security, the villagers will forever lose their abilities to make calculated decisions for themselves and become pawns in the hands of their so-called benefactors who are waiting to take over their land.

This will finally culminate in a futile sense of dissatisfaction for the villagers. The poet is filled with sadness to see the almost childish longing that seems to emanate from the roadside shed, for a life that is described in the movies, a life so far removed from their life in the village.

The unthinking occupants of a car who stop at the shed to buy a gallon of gas, speaks of the disconnect that exists in the perceptions of town people with regard to the villagers.

They are unable to comprehend that the lives of the villagers are far removed from theirs, so replete with the comforts that the material world offers. The poet is saddened at the thought that the rural poor have not been able to experience the satisfaction that comes from a feeling of well being and contentment.

He feels that it would be easy to still these complaining voices once and for all by changing the lives of the villagers but he questions the wisdom of this rash act.

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