Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
– Robert Frost
The main theme in Robert Frost’s “Fire And Ice” is the destruction of humans by their own hands due to their extreme beliefs. Various literary devices were used in the poem and one of them is the antithesis; using fire and ice as metaphors to represent the ideal destruction of humans from the values and principles they hold that leads to their downfall.
Fire represents the innate lust and desires of mankind, and it is something we cannot escape. The lips with confetti pouring out symbolises excesses and materialism, further reinforced by the lollipops in the background. The repetitive cycle of legs represent the hedonistic lifestyle that will ruin us, forever hypnotising and preventing us from breaking the spell it casted with its enticing worldly trappings. The humans in animal heads represent the primal instinct of individuals as they show themselves in their uninhibited and degenerative forms. The title Matahari is to pay homage to the exotic dancer and alleged spy Mata Hari, and the Malay word for sun.
GE Candidates On Mars Beaming Up To Saturn:
I interpret the usage of ice as an implied metaphor for apathy and quiet hatred. The usage of the Russian Imperial Romanov is apt: firstly, inbreeding (because the European royal houses all intermarried to protect the bloodline) representing an elitist mindset; and secondly, the separation of the Tsar from his subjects as the February Revolution looms near, showing the detachment of the Tsar with the proletariats, Dumas, and the army. This in turn breeds distrust between the people and the absolute monarch.
Some parts of the face are being censored out (eyes, ears, mouths) to show the withholding of information and suppression of voices in a dog-eat-dog world. It also shows ignorance and only an individual’s view upon a matter rather than reaching a shared consensus.
GE Candidates On Mars Beaming Up To Saturn alludes to the apparent divide between people and public opinion; and the inevitable destruction that might follow due to the lack of communication.
Loan and Return:
In lines 2-3, Frost would rather die in a hedonistic utopia than an Orwellian dystopia because at least as when we degenerate from being human beings to husks and porcelain dolls, we die in a state of bliss rather than be embittered by constant oppression. In an Orwellian dystopia, there is not a need to live but yet you are still alive. One just simply be simple and follow the clockwork routine like flocks of sheep.
However, lines 7-9 shows how he muses about a balance between the two extremities by acknowledging the fact that apathy and hatred are as destructive as avarice.
Loan and Return shows the interaction between the two extremities, where tight, organic spaceships took the porcelain dolls (humans hardened by “ice”) up from the concrete jungle in an effort to save them from their clockwork lifestyle and brings them to a “better” lifestyle of material world trappings.
For this assignment, I used photomontage to create different compositions of cutout images to offer different dimensions yet provide a synchronised unity in throwing out the overarching theme in the images. I get my various inspirations from artists such as Ernst Haeckel, Hannah Hoch, Heironymus Bosch, Richard Hamilton, and Salvador Dali. I tried to get the middle ground between Hoch’s abstract Dadaism and Hamilton’s Pop Art collages. The surreal depictions of Dali and Haeckel’s naturalist illustrations influenced the composition and choice of images as well.
Aside from artists, my interpretation of the poem is influenced by the Roaring Twenties period and other literary works such as George Orwell’s dystopian worlds (Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four) and War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, to set the motion of the themes that I worked on for this assignment.
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