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Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIII, 1986: Robert Frost's "The Subverted Flower." Margaret Storch. Pp. 295-305.. Psychoanal Q., 58:177.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLIII, 1986: Robert Frost's "The Subverted Flower." Margaret Storch. Pp. 295-305.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:177

American Imago. XLIII, 1986: Robert Frost's "The Subverted Flower." Margaret Storch. Pp. 295-305.

Anita G. Schmukler

"The Subverted Flower" is based on Frost's fantasies related to an incident that occurred during his courtship of Elinor White, who later became his wife. An additional component is Frost's relation with his sister, Jeannie, whose progressive mental disorder eventually took the form of psychosis. Cautiously, Frost monitored his own mental processes, fearful of a similar fate. In the poem, as the man experiences rejection of his passionate expressions, his guilt, fear, and rage engender a perception of himself as a brute. Simultaneously, the woman who shuns him is transformed progressively from one who is "richly erotic" to a "pathetic imbecile." Storch hypothesizes that Frost's perception of the rejection by the young woman is linked to his early conflict with his mother. The safety of the walled garden, from the young woman's perspective, is viewed symbolically as maternal. The theme of "protective walls" representing woman is juxtaposed with the intense feeling aroused by the rejecting financé and the psychotic sister.

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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIII, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 58:177

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