Short Questions and Answers
Question 1 : For Frost, what do ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ stand for?
Answer : The word ‘fire’ stands for desire. In the poem it indicates all types of greed and lust. In today’s world, mankind’s greed is endangering the very existence of the planet Earth. The word ‘ice’ in the poem indicates hatred and indifference which is as cold as ‘ice’. Cold indifference and hate can be equally destructive.
Question 2 : How has Frost brought out the contrasting ideas in the poem?
Answer : ‘Desire’ propels (moves) us in hot pursuit of something, hence, it is compared with fire. ‘Hatred’ makes us cold towards other’s feelings. The coldness of ice can numb our senses. Similarly, the coldness of our hearts can numb our kindness. That is why ‘hatred’ has been compared with ice.
Question 3 : Write down the two different views about the end of the world?
Answer : There is a debate that is going on about the end of the world. People say that the world will end in fire or in ice. The world is transitory, nothing is perennial (permanent) in this universe.
Question 4 : How does Robert Frost cautions the common man?
Answer : Man is selfish, avaricious (greedy), lustful, indifferent and hateful. Robert Frost cautions the common man and says that he should not forget the bitter reality that everything in this world is transitory and death is inevitable (can not be stopped).
Question 5 : Why does the poet hold with those who favour fire?
Answer : The poet takes side of those who believe that the world will be destroyed by fire. Frost connects fire with desire. According to the poet, desire is powerful and can bring quick end. Moreover, the fact that he has had person experience with desire leads him to first conclude that the world will end by fire.
Question 6 : Write the sum and substance of the poem ‘Fire and Ice’.
Answer : The crystal clear message that the poet is trying to give is that nothing in this world is eternal. The poet first concludes that the world must end in fire after considering his personal experience with desire and passion, the emotions of fire. But at the same time, ice or hatred can also bring total destruction of this world. We should thus, not forget this supreme reality and keep ourselves able all selfish matters.
Question 7 : Briefly write about the ideas about how the world will end.
Answer : The world will end as a direct result of either fire or ice. Some scientists believe that the world would be incinerated (destroyed) from its fiery core, while others were convinced that the coming ice age would destroy all living things on Earth’s surface. Frost introduces a more emotional side, associating desire with fire and hatred with ice. The poem, thus, does not allow for any other opinions in the black and white debate between fire and ice.
Question 8 : To say that for destruction ice is also great for the poet, what does ‘ice’ stand for? How is it sufficient to bring destruction?
Answer : ‘Ice’ symbolises hatred. Hate is just as powerful as desire. While desire consumes quickly, hate can occur and linger (stay) in people’s minds and hearts for years and sometimes even lifetimes. Hate consumes the haters perhaps even more than the person or group hated and it can ruin lives. Hate can, thus, be very destructive and sufficient to bring destruction.
Question 9 : ‘But if it had to perish twice’. How will the world perish twice?
Answer : According to the poet, the world will end due to the ‘fire’, which symbolises desire. But if the world had to end twice then it will be due to the hatred symbolised by ‘ice’. The poet feels that there is enough hatred in the world that is spreading among the people. This hatred will end the world one day.
Question 10 : Which age old question does the poem revolves around?
Answer : The poem revolves around the age old question of whether the world will end in fire or in ice. This is similar to another age old question, whether it would be preferable to freeze to death or burn to death. The poet determines that either option would achieve its purpose sufficiently well.
Long Questions and Answers
Question 1 : Discuss how extreme beahviour can hasten the end of the world with respect to ‘Fire and Ice’.
Answer : ‘Fire’ symbolises desire and ‘Ice’ symbolises hatred. Desire is a kind of intense love or want that focuses people on getting and possessing and acquiring. Our society is full of people who spend their lives working to get a bigger and better TV, a more stylish car or a more extravagant house. This kind of desire can lead people to destruction in the form of bankruptcy or even broken relationships. Frost’s poem speaks on the issue of greed corrupting people and even society. The power of hate, which is symbolised by ice, is just as great as desire. While desire consumes quickly, hate produces shy yet restrained devastation. For instance, hate is the root cause of racism and war. It can linger in people’s mind for lifetimes.
Moreover, it consumes the hater even more than the person being hated. It thus, ruins lives.
Question 2 : The poem ‘Fire and Ice’, carried with it very deep thematic ideas. Elaborate on these darkest traits of humanity.
Answer : Frost presents the two of the darkest traits of humanity; the capacity to hate and the capacity to be consumed by lust or desire. Of the two , he attributes the greater of the two evils, is desire. In giving desire the foremost position with regard to the destruction of the world, Frost is providing a powerful statement on the subject of greed and jealousy, saying that above all else, desire is the trait of humanity that is most likely to lead to its demise. Desire represents the greatest problem that attributes to the cause of the war. Frost then attributes hatred with the same capacity to do harm.
However, he lessens the relative importance of hatred but still presents it as having the ability to lead to the destruction of the world if it were to happen for a second time.
Question 3 : The poet presents two reasons which will lead to the destruction of the humanity. What values do you garner from the two possible causes provided by him?
Answer : The poet provides and deals with two possible causes for the end of the world. He points more towards the emotional and sentimental side of the issue. As for him, fire denotes deep passion and burning desire, while ice is highlighted for its icy cold and hatred side of the emotions.
He favours both the arguments and says that either the deep burning passion or the cold hatred and jealousy factor will push the people to walk on the path of destruction. The poet is sure of this destruction of humanity.
He first talks about the destruction because of fire and in case this fails, then ice will end the world. The love that people have for one another will turn into hatred. In race of climbing up and outdo one another, people will tend to hate each other. These negative emotions will become so strong that it will surpass all the love and lead to the destruction of humanity.
Question 4 : How will the world end? Support your answer with scientific explanation.
Answer : According to the scientists, the two reasons for the destruction of the world will be either fiery core or the ice age.
Some scientists believed that the world would be incinerated (destroyed) from its fiery core, while others were convinced that a coming ice age would destroy all living things on the earth’s surface. In other words, either the deep heat or fire under the earth beds will lead to natural calamities like volcano eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis which will one day end the world, or the melting of ice from the snowy mountains due to global warming will shrink the world. As a result, one day the entire world will die of the icy water. Frost, thus, tries to warn people against the two greatest problems being faced by humanity and the consequences of human vices and increased effectiveness.