The Mending Wall

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Mending Wall Script
Mending Wall is the opening poem of Frost’s second book of poetry “North of Boston”, which was published upon his return from England in 1915. While he was in England, he was homesick for the farm in New Hampshire where he had lived with his wife from 1900 to 1909. This poem depicts Frost’s personal story with his neighbor, a French-Canadian in New Hampshire. The two had often walked along their property line and repaired the wall that separated their land.

The theme I am going to focus on are opposition to nature and tradition. In the poem mending wall, the two characters, Frost and his neighbor, has contradicting beliefs in the necessity of building division. The neighbor thinks the wall is beneficial, whereas Frost thinks there is no necessity of the wall (line 23). Frost is a nature lover and nature is often mentioned in his poem. In this poem, he portrays the wall as in opposition to nature to strengthen his opinion and perception on the necessity of the wall. A few examples of nature imagery and diction can be seen in this poem. In line 2 to 3, it says “frozen-ground-swell” “spills the upper boulders”. This is a reference to natural events and shows that the wall deteriates on its own naturally. Nature’s attempt to destroy the wall. In line 11, it mentions “spring mending time we find them there”. In nature, spring is a time of birth, and a time when people create something new and fresh. However, instead of creating new things, the neighbors are just fixing the old fences every spring. Frost is trying to show that this action is a demonstration of old-fashion thinking that does not follow nature. Imagery in line 17 compares the boulders to “loaves” and “balls”. Loaves and balls are both human made shapes which do not occur naturally. This show that the building of wall is simply human effort and it is against nature. The line following it says that “we have to use a spell to make them balance”, “spell” refers to something magical. So again, it touches on the theme of against nature. Therefore, these examples show that it seems as if nature is attempting to destroy the barriers that man has created on the land, even as man continues to repair the barriers, simply out of habit and tradition. The writer uses this idea to further defend his opinion that there is no necessity of the wall.

The two characters in this poem, the neighbor and the poet also have different personality. Frost depicts this difference in personality and perception through the use of diction and sentence structures. The first difference that caught my attention is that the writer refers to the division as “wall”, as seen in the title and throughout the poem; but the neighbor refers to the division simply as fences. Wall is something that is concrete and represents permanent or long-term division. The fact that the poet uses this term shows that he is using it as an extended metaphor for the emotional division that exists between the speaker and his neighbor. Although their physical distance is very close, their emotional distance contains many gaps and distance due to the presence of the wall. On the contrary, in line 28 and the last line of the poem, the farmer refers to the division as fences. This line is a common saying from many different countries. The fact that the farmer follows and beliefs in this common saying show his mental enclosure that he mindlessly follows the traditional wisdom. It also demonstrates that what concerns him is just simple and practical fact, such as the fence is a division between land properties. This different use of diction shows that the neighbor views their action as mixing fence, maintaining personal property between the two neighbors; but the write views their action as building wall, constructing a separation in human relationships. The sentence structure of “good fence makes good neighbors” also differentiates from what the writer normally writes. In this sentence, there is a...
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