Robert Frost's Mending Wall

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Analysis "Mending Wall", By Robert Frost

In "Mending Wall", Robert Frost uses a series of contrasts, to express his own conflict between tradition and creation. By describing the annual ritual of two neighbors repairing the wall between them, he contrasts both neighbors through their ideas and actions, intertwining the use of parallelism and metaphors, in order to display his own innermost conflict as a poet; the balance between what is to be said and what is to be left to the reader, the balance between play and understanding. From the very first line, the speaker is presented as playful and intelligent, and clearly not a ‘native' farmer. He gives an enjoyable and roundabout, almost magical, phrasing to the first line, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall", leaving it deliciously unclear. This "it", who the reader later realizes is frost—as in winter's frost—is what tears down the wall. Yet in the speaker's own refusal to define it, he displays his love for childlike playfulness and belief in magic, thus portraying that as his own desire for the actual cause. This line takes a part in the parallelism an contrast with the neighbor's only line, "Good fences make good neighbors", with both lines being repeated twice in the poem. This obviously establishes and important parallelism in the poem, contrasting the clear-cut and direct nature of the neighbor, with the more enchanting and intelligent nature of the speaker, all to be represented through their own opinions about the wall. It is little after that one of the poem's metaphors emerges. The speaker's inability to understand the necessity for the wall, results in his mocking of the neighbor by attempting to convince him, sarcastically of course, that his apple trees will never get across and eat his pines, and thus concluding that the wall is not necessary. Though the speaker is clearly being facetious, he nevertheless establishes an antagonistic tone, mocking the stubbornness of the neighbor by...
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