Into my Own cover image featuring Robert Frost

Into My Own by Robert Frost: Understand This Poem Easily

Everyone has either understood the excitement and fear of starting something new or taking a new path or is about to understand that later in their lives. It is quite difficult to explain this fear, as it is so different. Mixed with emotions of expectations, joy, fear, trepidations, and so much more, giving this feeling one word would be insufficient. But the poem “Into My Own” describes this emotion wonderfully and beautifully. 

“Into My Own” by Robert Frost is one of the poems from his “A Boy’s Will” collection published in 1915 and it touches on the ideas of independence, coming of age, exploring the world, taking on new challenges, and growing up. Perhaps every person, not just adolescents or young adults, should read this poem if they are about to embark on a journey that holds uncertainties. Let’s analyze this poem and look at its meaning. 

Into My Own by Robert Frost

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,

So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,

Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,

But stretched away unto the edge of doom. 

I should not be withheld but that some day

Into their vastness I should steal away,

Fearless of ever finding open land,

Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,

Or those should not set forth upon my track

To overtake me, who should miss me here

And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew—

Only more sure of all I thought was true.

Meaning and Summary

Into My Own talks about the feeling of the first time when someone is on their own, or about to do something on their own. Whatever the reason, when someone is about to embark on a journey on their own, there is a mix of emotions that rises like giant waves inside their minds. The poem is written from the point of view of an adolescent person, just stepping into the world of adulthood, and trying to achieve something. 

The dark and unknown future can be scary and exciting at the same time, but we mostly assume the former. The feeling of failing, the fear of getting our ideas, our hopes, and ambitions wrong, and not being able to achieve our dreams is a frightening emotion. But there’s something that lies beyond that emotion, and “Into My Own” is about breaking this fear and moving ahead. 

Frost, as a young adult, wants to move ahead, beyond the dark and gloomy expectations of the future, and find vast lands of opportunities where he could be successful in achieving all the things he wants to achieve. There are certain nuances and hidden meanings within the lines which shall be discussed in the analysis section.

Another important part of this poem is believing in your ideals, your dreams, and your abilities. There will be people in your life who will always doubt your work, your methods, your hopes, and your dreams, but do not stop for their doubts. “Never turn back” is what Frost tells the readers. In fact, he says that one should go ahead with such certainty and strength that one should pave a path for others to follow and even overtake. 

Finally, Frost ends the poem by giving very important advice. He says that all the people who would miss him, who would feel his absence, his friends and family, shall never be let down. If they ever wonder if you still love them, even if you have moved far away, let them know that your love for them has not changed a bit. You are still the same way you used to be, only more sure of what you already believed in. Believing in yourself and moving ahead. 

Into My Own poem by Robert Frost

Analysis of the Poem

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,

So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,

Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,

But stretched away unto the edge of doom. 

The first stanza connects an idea with imagery. Dark trees that are old and firm and rarely move in the breeze are shown as gloomy. There are two ways to interpret this image. Firstly, Frost is saying that the dark trees that surround him are ominous and gloomy, and represent some sort of barrier that stops him from moving ahead. 

The second way, and probably the more accurate way, is that these dark, gloomy trees are used as a metaphor to describe old adults who try to force their ways onto young people, the classic orthodox versus the new argument is shown here. They are firm and do not move, which shows how strongly these old people believe in their ideas.

Frost hopes that these “trees” or older generation were not just a mask of gloom and orthodoxy, rather these “trees” would stretch unto the edge of doom, meaning that these old people should be supportive of the younger generation till the end. But sadly, these trees are just there becoming a barrier for people who want to be on their own and do something they believe in. 

I should not be withheld but that some day

Into their vastness I should steal away,

Fearless of ever finding open land,

Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

The second stanza talks about the inevitability of uncertainty of the future, yet the narrator believes that he will find a way. He will go through these firm and old trees and reach the open land, fearlessly finding a way. It is not going to be an easy task and certainly will take some time, but he is not going to stop at any cost. This stanza talks a lot about dedication and overcoming the fear of the unknown, the fear of the future. 

Most of the time, we are unable to do something new, take on a new challenge, or do something that we truly want to because we are afraid of what might happen in the future. Perhaps everything will go awry, perhaps none of the things you have planned will work out. All these fears are enough to make you fixated on one position, never cross these “gloomy trees”. 

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,

Or those should not set forth upon my track

To overtake me, who should miss me here

And long to know if still I held them dear.

The second stanza was about believing in oneself and finding a way into the vast lands of opportunities. The third stanza is about inspiring the next generation, it is about not becoming the gloomy, firm trees that are naught but a barrier for the younger generation. 

Frost says that he sees no reason or point in turning back. Remember that he is speaking from the point of view of a teenager or a young adult who is just about to take on life and live independently. He says that will make a path for the younger generation, and they should follow him, even overtake him to go beyond. This is an important line, a very important line. 

The motive behind this young person (whom Frost represents) is not to just be a rebellious person trying to break the orthodox ideas. When he says that he wants others to walk on the same path and overtake him, he wants people to go beyond the open lands and seek more. All he wants is that people should keep moving ahead, believing in their dreams without the fear of the future.  

They would not find me changed from him they knew—

Only more sure of all I thought was true.

From the third stanza to the last couplet, there is a very important message Frost has for these teenagers and other people who are about to change their lives and become something more, someone, new. He says that all the people who would miss him when he is gone and wonder if he still loves them, it is important that you should let them know that you do. Do not change and become a stranger to your friends or family, to people who care for you.

No change in you will make you a different person. But everything that you already believed in will get reinforced. The poem is about strengthening your core beliefs and not being scared of the future. 

Literary Devices in the Poem

Structure and Rhyme Scheme: “Into My Own” is written as a sonnet, but unlike classic sonnets that are usually written to express love, Frost uses it to convey hope and a message to the younger generation. It is worth noting that he breaks an orthodox rule by doing something new, something that the older generations might disapprove of. 

The rhyme scheme is different from a sonnet’s rhyme scheme. Frost uses rhyming couplets, again breaking the rules of the orthodox. The rhyme scheme of “Into My Own” is:

AABB CCDD EEFF GG

Metaphors: Some examples of metaphors used in this poem are:

Dark trees, old and firm are used to represent the older generation and their orthodox rules. The Mask of gloom is used to describe the perception of the future as nothing but failure. 

Open land is used to describe possibilities while the highway is used to describe a path to possibilities.

Alliteration: The examples of alliteration used in the poem include:

So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,

Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,

Fearless of ever finding open land,

Or those should not set forth upon my track

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