Dr. Fernando de Toro
5 December 2012
The Wall: A Barrier and an Obstacle
In the poem “Mending Wall” written by Robert Frost, the main topic is the wall which is situated between the speaker’s and his neighbour’s respective properties. The wall in this poem can be interpreted as both a barrier and as a bridge between the two men in the poem- the speaker and his neighbour. It separates not only their properties, but it can also be seen as an obstacle in other facets of their lives. In spite of the wall representing that, however, it is also a bridge that connects them together as an annual event – a tradition- in which they are able to meet and socialize with each other.
The wall is both a literal and figurative barrier in the poem. It is literal because it is visibly present, an obstacle which marks the end and start of the speaker and the neighbour’s properties. The reason and purpose of this wall is not known to the speaker and he is adamant in saying to his neighbour that “we [they] do not need the wall.” He also declares in the lines 24 to 26 that his property is an “apple orchard” and his neighbor’s is all “pines” and thus, he does not see the need for the wall when his “apple trees will never…eat the cones under his pines.” Here, the speaker clearly thinks that there is no point in this separation of their properties by the wall they are currently mending. The line that his neighbour speaks after the speaker expresses his opinions is “Good fences make good neighbours.” In here, the figurative aspect of the wall is present. The speaker cannot communicate his feelings about the barrier between them to his neighbor. While the speaker seems to have a rather vivid imagination - as seen in the lines 36 and 18 where he speaks of elves and spells- the neighbor is rather set in his ways, as evidenced by the line 43 in which it is said that the neighbor “will not go behind his father’s saying.” Their ways of thinking are very...