September 19, 2013
Robert Frost: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is about a man who stops to admire snowfall in woods as he is travelling from farms to market. Caught between reality and fantasy, the poem is full of contrasts and irony. Life is so busy that often at times adults cannot enjoy Earth’s beauty. The narrator’s description, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep”, sounds as if he just realized how much beauty he is missing. Even when he recalls he has obligations to fulfill, it is as if he is taking one last look to store this memory for a later time.
There are a few ways to view the contrast of civilization and nature. One example is laws against freedom. Another example is manners against animal instinct. These opposing ideas are present throughout the poem. The narrator even says, “My little horse must think is queer- To stop without a farmhouse near.” The horse has been taught to know only hard work by the humans who trained him, so he is almost lost his sense of animal curiosity.
Frost creates a sense of irony in the situation between the road the narrator is travelling, which symbolizes trade and economy, and the white woods where limitations that apply to society are nonexistent. When speaking of the woods’ owner, “His house is in the village though”, tells of the ironic contrast that exists between him and the narrator. The owner sees the woods solely as a financial investment, whereas the narrator views them in a somewhat spiritual light.
In conclusion, Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is full of contrasts and irony. As the narrator takes his last look of longing, he knows he must finish his duties. He is tired and cold. The realization that he still has far to go before there is rest is so exasperating that he repeats it to himself. “And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.”