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Stopping by woods Robert Frost

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Stopping by woods Robert Frost

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  • May 12, 2009
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Commitment vs. Fantasy in Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," Robert Frost dramatizes the conflict between the speaker's life obligations with the allurement of death. Frost describes the scene of a man, who stops to look at the woods on a snowy winter evening and wishes to stay despite the coldness of the night. Frost uses various forms of imagery and symbolism to create an atmosphere of composure and beauty mixed with a feeling of ambiguity throughout the poem. Even though some see the poem as a depiction of beauty, the powerful symbol of the woods emphasize that the speaker is more interested in the attraction of death, but ultimately feels the greater need to continue in order to fulfill his duties in life.

Frost begins the poem simply by setting a vivid scene which provides the basis of imagery to create a tone of alienation with a serene mood. It describes the faraway location of the woods, implying the isolation it forms between the traveler and civilization, a restricted area that man should not cross. The speaker has for a moment stopped his journey to watch "woods fill up with snow," being drawn by the dreamlike beauty and ambiguity of the landscape.

The second stanza provides information on the reason of his stopping with a more definite time and location. The traveler is so far out that the horse "must think it queer" to stop far away from town, knowing instinctively that it is dangerous. Shifting the focus point to the horse's reaction creates reality of the situation and a greater emphasis on their stop. The division between the "woods and the frozen lake" illustrate the division between fantasy and reality. The next lines disclose that it is the "darkest evening of the year," literally and emotionally. The emphases placed on darkness represent the unnamed troubles and despondency, without light and hope.

In the third stanza, the traveler observes more of his surroundings and is...