Summary of Going for Water

The poem ‘Going for Water’ has been written by a well-known poet Robert Frost. It is about why the people/children had to go very far to find water and where they went. The poem begins with people/children having to cross the fields behind their house to find out if the river is still running as the well outside their door has dried out. The people are quite happy to have an excuse to go outside because it’s a beautiful autumn evening.

The people/children, overjoyed, run forward as if to meet the moon which slowly rises behind the trees. The trees in the autumn are bare and devoid of the songs of the birds, and there is no breeze to sway the leafless branches.

Once they enter the wood, the people/children stop believing that the moon will not be able to see them for at least some time. When the moon finds them, they run away, laughing happily to a new hiding place. The reference to gnomes adds to this evening’s magic quality. Even daily work is transformed into an enjoyable experience. When the people/children hear the river, they pause and hold each other’s hands as if to warn the other not to make a sound. They could hear the sound of the river, the tinkling sound of running water, in the silence and quietness of the evening. The poet paints a beautiful picture of the pearl-like drops of water that glow in the bright moonlight of the pool which in turn makes the slender brook look like a silver blade.

The rhyming scheme of the poem is abcb. Every line has 8 syllables, except for the first line of the 5th stanza. That has 9 syllables – perhaps indicating the pause made by the people going for water.


Figures of Speech/ Poetic Devices

The poet has used several figures of speech to beautify this poem. For example, alliteration is one of the devices used by Frost. He has used it two times. Once when he writes, “But once within the wood, we paused” and also when he writes, “We heard, we knew, we heard the brook.” The later almost sounds like a riddle later. The repeated use of the consonant ‘w‘ stresses the words used. In these two sentences, the use of alliteration highlights its significance and gives the poem a more playful tone as it makes it sound like a riddle. This flows well with the poem’s object, which is children.

Hyperbole is another device used by Frost. “We ran as if to meet the moon.” is the first line of the third verse. That shouldn’t be taken literally. This is an exaggeration because you really can’t run to the moon. The feeling of happiness is also related and what is impossible can become possible.

During the final line of the poem, a simile is also used. “Now drops that floated on the pool/ Like pearls, and now a silver blade.” This phrase is still a simile and not a metaphor, even though the words “like” or “as” are not used, because there are two distinct comparisons. The author compares water drops to pearls, which emphasises to me how the water drops disappeared in the pool because pearls would sink and also pearls are shiny, as is water.

Questions and Answers

Q. What images does the poet use to convey the idea that the water is precious?
Ans. The poet conveys the idea that the water is precious by comparing the droplets of the water in the brook to precious things like pearls and silver blade.

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Q. What makes the people in the poem childlike?
Ans. The details from the poem that make the people in the poem seem childlike are: ‘We ran as if to meet the moon’ – children are more likely to run spontaneously; ‘With laughter’ – getting caught up in a game and laughing would be more usual in children, and playing hide and seek – game playing is most often associated with children. The game of hide and seek and imagining the moon as a player taking part also make them seem childlike. Frost does not say that the people are children – the people could be adults.

Extra Questions and Answers

Q. There is a dearth of water. How is it conveyed in the poem?
Ans. It is conveyed when it is told that the people/children have to go very far to find water. They have to go out to get water because the well beside their door has dried up.

Q. Why do the people in the poem have to go out to get water what has happened to their usual water source?

And. The children have to go far to get water because there is a dearth of water. The well beside their door is dried up.

Q. What is the time when the people go out to fetch water?
Ans. It is autumn and the time is evening.

Q. Where is the brook?

Ans. The brook is across the fields, behind the house, in the woods.

Q. Which game do the people/children play with the moon?

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Ans. The people play a game of hide and seek with the moon.

Q. What does the brook sound like?

Ans. The brook makes a tinkling sound (like a bell).

Q. What are the droplets of water with the moon’s light on them are compared to?

Ans. The droplets of water with the moon’s light on them are compared to pearls and a silver blade.

Q. Who wrote the poem Going for Water?
Ans. Robert Frost wrote the poem Going For Water.

Idiomatic language

1. Pupils will write their own sentences if they know the meanings. Some examples are given below.

a. go to town: to do something eagerly and as completely as possible

The volunteers went to town and finished the work early. (They worked with enthusiasm.)

b. go to waste: to not be used

The clock I bought him went to waste: he had three already.

c. go to great pains: to try very hard to do something

We went to great pains to make them feel comfortable.

d. go under the knife: to have a medical operation

He goes under the knife on Tuesday: I hope he recovers soon.

e. go up in flames: to come to an end suddenly and completely

The holiday went up in flames when he broke his leg.

f. go up in smoke: to become spoiled or wasted (such as a plan)

All their plans went up in smoke when the Chairman resigned.

g. go with a bang: to take place with excitement and success (such as a good party)

The annual arts festival went with a bang; thousands attended it.

h. go without: to manage, to live with, not having or doing something

The payment did not arrive on time, so the family went without for a whole week.

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