Analysis of Stopping by a Wood on a Snowy Day

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Mark Speakman
Professor Hosley
Eng Comp 102
28 November 2012

Society and responsibility versus
straying from the life’s path

In Robert Frosts’ poem “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening”, Frost uses symbolism and personification to tell a story about a man’s battle with responsibility and society versus straying from the accepted path of life. Throughout the poem, Frosts’ use of detail helps push the story along and get the reader into that field. The reader starts to feel the cool, brisk breeze and hear the silence of the nothingness. With as short as this poem is, the reader really feels a sense of a story here rather than just a four stanza poem. “Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though.” From the start we are hearing about the woods and the owner who is in the village. One may not immediately see the symbolism here, but there is society and the wilderness. Though the wilderness is on the edge of society and what is accepted, it is still on the outside. With the lure of peacefulness and beauty, man is tempted to stray from his path of responsibility. Looking on at the beauty, he is lulled in by the serenity of the picturesque landscape and feels drawn to stay. It is the horse, which symbolizes domestication and societies only available agent, that draws his thoughts back in towards society and his obligations.

“My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near” Society is now personified through his horse. Giving thoughts to this animal which represents society, he is giving a non-living, non-breathing entity existence which helps drag him back towards his thoughts of responsibility kicking and screaming. The first thoughts are of some of society’s basic necessities: shelter and safety. Though they are his own, they are portrayed as that of his horse (society). Until this point, the man has followed his own wants and desires. He has gone against society by escaping from his responsibilities and...
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