Robert Frost's Mending Wall

Topics: Metaphor, Wall, Poetry Pages: 4 (1183 words) Published: November 21, 2006
Robert Frost's Mending Wall

In his poem 'Mending Wall', Robert Frost presents to us the thoughts of barriers linking people, communication, friendship and the sense of security people gain from barriers. His messages are conveyed using poetic techniques such as imagery, structure and humor, revealing a complex side of the poem as well as achieving an overall light-hearted effect. Robert Frost has cleverly intertwined both a literal and metaphoric meaning into the poem, using the mending of a tangible wall as a symbolic representation of the barriers that separate the neighbors in their friendship.

"Mending Wall" is about two neighbors who disagree over the need of a wall to separate their properties. Not only does the wall act as a divider in separating estates, it also acts as a barrier in the neighbors' friendship, separating them. For the neighbor with the "pine trees" (line 24), the wall is of great significance, as it provides a sense of security and privacy. He believes that although two people can still be friendly neighbors, some form of barrier is needed to separate them and "wall in" the personal space and privacy of the individual. This is shown through his repeated saying, "good fences make good neighbors" (line 27-45). The neighbor's property is a representation of his privacy and the wall acts as a barrier against intrusion.

The poem itself is a technique Robert Frost uses to convey his ideas. Behind the literal representation of building walls, there is a deeper metaphoric meaning, which reflects people's attitudes towards others. It reflects the social barriers people build, to provide a sense of personal security and comfort, in the belief that barriers are a source of protection, which will make people less vulnerable to their fears. Robert Frost's ideas are communicated strongly through the perspective of the narrator in the poem, the "I" voice, who questions the need for barriers. The use of conversation and the thoughts of the...
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