Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice Summary

Fire and Ice Introduction

Central Idea of the Poem

It is a universal truth that nothing is permanent in this world. On the one hand, some people think that the world will end in fire while on the other hand, some people think that the world will end in ice. The poet equates the fire with desire and ice with hate. As the ice destroys the world melting slowly, in the same way hatred will also destroy the world. Because greed, hatred, strife, intolerance, etc., bring much destruction to the society. So, human beings should live peacefully.

Fire and Ice Summary

‘Fire and Ice’ is a short poem by Robert Frost. In this poem, the poet refers to two predictions of how the world will end. Some say it will end in fire whereas others say it will end in ice. According to the poet, ‘fire’ stands for desire, greed, avarice or lust. The more you try to satisfy them, the more they grow. There is no end to it. They spread rapidly like fire and engulf your whole life. One becomes selfish and sometimes cruel too. On the other hand, ‘ice’ according to the poet, stands for hatred, coldness and rigidity. One becomes insensitive and indifferent towards the feelings of others. The poet says that both fire and ice are growing with such a rapid pace that the world would soon perish either way, in fire or in ice.

Class English Fire and Ice Important Questions and Answers

I. Short Answer Type Questions (20-30 words & 2 marks each)

Question 1.
Which underlying idea is represented in the poem ‘Fire and Ice’?
The poet compares fire to ‘desire’and ice to ‘hatred’. Both of these are surging exponentially. If we don’t keep a check on their rapid growth, the world will perish. Therefore, we must control our desires and hatred.

Question 2.
Why did the poet say about the world perishing twice?
The poet said about the world perishing twice because, at first if some parts of the world are left out of apocalypse through fire, the remaining parts would definitely be destroyed by ice.

Question 3.
How is ice sufficient to bring destruction?
In the poem, ‘ice’ denotes hatred. It does not matter what type of hatred it is. There is much hatred in this world. It will certainly destroy.

II. Short Answer Type Questions (40-50 words & 3 marks each)

Question 1.
What do ‘fire’ and `ice’ stand for and what is the general opinion regarding the world?
Fire stands for fury, hatred, anger, cruelty; ice stands for insensitivity, coldness and intolerance. In general, it is the opinion of some people that fire will destroy the world while some say that ice will destroy it.

Question 2.
What does the poet say regarding the end of the world?
It is a universal truth that everything has a beginning and it will certainly come to an end. Either ‘fire’ or ‘ice’may cause the end of the world. Some day the existing world will certainly end.

III. Long Answer Type Questions (100-120 words & 5 marks each)

Question 1.
Why does the poet say he is in favour of fire ending the world?
In this poem, the poet has used an analogy between fire and greed. In his opinion, the nature of fire is just like that of desire, greed, lust or avarice. The more we try to satisfy these, the more they grow. They spread like fire spreading throughout a forest and embracing trees, animals in its agony and leaving nothing but the ash. Likewise, the never-ending desires of humans pose a danger to this world. It can be seen from the past trends. The forest cover has been shrinking. Since the inception of Industrial Revolution, many animal species have become extinct and some are in endangered category. All this happened and is still happening because of human’s never satisfying greed. The poet could visualise the ramifications of uncontrolled desires and this is why he is in favour of fire ending the world.

Question 2.
How can ice end the world?
The word ‘ice’ is a metaphor representing cruelty, hate, coldness, unkind nature and rigidity. Time has seen it all, how a feeling of hatred in one person spreads to thousands of them, wiping out an entire generation or a community, e.g., Hitler’s hatred for a particular faith inspired him for his infamous atrocities. There had been wars to become the ultimate superpower and the intention to carry out such cowardly acts was based on unkind nature of an individual.
So, considering all this in mind, the poet referred ice as a way of ending this world.

Question 3.
Is it possible to avoid the end of the world? How can we prevent the fire and ice to carry out the ending of this world? Answer:
Yes, it is possible to avoid the apocalypse. If we humans are responsible for the catasrophe so far, we also have the capability to deter. To save this world from fire and ice, we must act upon our necessities and not desires. We must go for inner engineering to know, observe, analyse and learn the ways this nature works. Moral education should be inculcated at a young age, knowledge about feeling of being content should be imparted, to control the feelings of anger, lust, hatred, we must practise meditation. All these little steps will produce a large return towards the benefit of
humankind and thus deter our world from evils.

Question 4.
Some say the world will end in
fire some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
On the basis of the given passage, explain how will the world end? Substantiate.
Through the given passage, the poet wants to convey two things about the world. According to some people, the world will end in fire. But some people also opine that the world will end in ice. Both of these are the contradictory opinions. But one similar thing between them is that both of them would destroy everything in the world. In the poem, fire stands for desire and ice stands for hatred.

So, the poet gives a clear message to us that nothing is eternal in this world. Everything will perish either in fire or ice. Hatred and desire will end this world. This fire of passions and desire will lead the end of the world. Cold reasoning and hate will lead this world to destruction. But the poet is with those who think that fire of passions and desires will lead to the destruction of this world.

English Fire and Ice Textbook Questions and Answers

Thinking about the Poem

1. There are many ideas about how the world will ‘end’. Do you think the world will end someday? Have you ever thought about what would happen if the sun got so hot that it ‘burst’, or grew colder and colder?
The poet has presented two ideas about the end of this world. Nothing is permanent in this world and everything will perish one day. If the sun gets too hot, and everything will turn into ashes. And, on the contrary, if the sun grows colder and colder, life from the universe will vanish. Nothing will remain in this world as the Sun is the source of life.

2. For Frost, what do ‘fire’ and `ice’ stand for? Here are some ideas:

“Fire’ stands for greed, avarice, lust, conflict and fury.
‘Ice’stands for cruelty, insensitivity, coldness, indifference and hatred.

3. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem? How does it help in bringing out the contrasting ideas in the poem?
The rhyme scheme of the poem is as follows:
1st stanza: a b a a
2nd stanza: a b a b a

The contrasting ideas of ‘fire’ and `ice’are presented using this rhyme scheme. He mentions that both fire and ice are probable ends of this world. While he talks about how fire represents desire and can, therefore, be a cause of the end of the world, he also mentions ice in the poem to symbolise that the coldness and indifference towards one another will also be enough to end the world. In the second stanza, he says that he knows enough of hate in the world to be sure that even destruction through ice would be sufficient to bring about the end of the world.

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