McPhail, Courtney 1
17 September 2012
The Imagery of “Mending Wall”
The boulders fall silently as nature begins to tear down man’s creation. In Robert Frosts poem “Mending Wall” the author offers lots of imagery to describe the walls human beings put up not only to physically separate themselves but also mentally. The two characters in this poem are described as two opposite beings not only in what is grown on their land but also expresses the difference in age between the two. Frost also expresses human emasculation when nature attacked the structures humans built that are thought to be strong and durable. Although really in reality human structures crumbles before the force of nature. In the poem through the comparison of the very different narrator and neighbor, Frost uses images of nature in dominant force that eventually destroys human endeavors, and shows the absurdity of rebuilding both literal and figurative walls that some universal force wants down. In this poem the narrator is described as a childlike free spirit that seems to question why he and his neighbor always rebuild a wall that is torn down every year by nature. At the beginning of the poem the narrator introduces a wall: “Something there is that doesn't love a wall, / That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it” (lines 1-2). The narrator describes a thing McPhail, Courtney 2
that doesn’t love a wall as nature. The frozen ground is hard and swells as it causes the wall to become brittle. “And spills the upper boulders in the sun, / And makes gaps even two can pass abreast” (lines 3-4). These lines are describing the upper boulders being damaged by the sun which causes erosion or ‘gaps’ in the structure. Also the narrator is very imaginative as stated by “That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him, / But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather /He said it for himself” (37-39). This also describes the narrator by saying he...
Cited: Frost, Robert. “Mending Wall.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. Ed. Michael Myer. 9th Ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2012. 875-876.
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