No matter how much you try reasoning, some people just won’t be budged. This concept was displayed in Frost’s “Mending Wall”. It depicts a story of 2 men, neighbors, who join together once a year to rebuild the wall from the damage from the previous 365 days. The speaker wants to eliminate this outdated tradition of wall building. His neighbor, in opposition, turns to the phrase “Good fences make good neighbors” and provides no real counter argument. The neighbor’s unchanging attitude is just like the attitude of those who refuse to adapt with the changing times.
The speaker of the poem displays how outdated the neighbor is by the way he describes him. The wall itself is so old; the speaker describes it as though it were from the ancient mythical times, with elves and spells. And the neighbor himself is described as being “like an old stone savage armed” whilst trying to rebuild the wall. In an attempt to end this tradition of wall repairing, the speaker points out that the point of fences was to separate cattle, and that they have no cattle, but only trees. His neighbor merely responds with the cliché “Good fences make good neighbors” without really what idea is being presented to him. The speaker himself, however, provides a contradiction. If he is so against having the wall up, why does he keep coming back to build it? Does he just want the social interaction that teamwork provides? Frost does not provide an answer to this question, nor does he clear up the contradiction that is the speaker. This allows the reader to create his or her own reasons for the hypocrisy embedded in the speaker. Perhaps the act of building the wall brings him joy, or maybe he truly dislikes his neighbor and looks forward to getting back to the routine and ignoring him. It is not told, but inferred.
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