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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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Topics: Poetry, Rhyme
In Robert Frosts’ “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” there are many hidden meanings. When this poem is first read, one may or may not catch onto these hidden messages right away. Most of Frosts poems express depression, darkness, and death. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is a little different from others he has written. This poems hidden messages are clear, and the literary devices used help the reader understand them. Robert Frosts’ poems are very deep. Their meanings tell a lot about his character. In Richard Wakefields’ “To Be A Natural Man In A Man-Made World” describes how Frosts poem is about self-consciousness. Wakefield explains it perfectly. The poet is reminded of responsibilities that he has back in the village when the horse rings its’ harness (362). Also, the woods is not looked upon as free land, it is someones “property” (361). Wakefields‘ analysis is spot on. When Frost writes, “My little horse must think it queer/ To stop without a farm house near” shows that there is no more adventure in society. There always has to be a reason to go somewhere or do something at a specific time, rather than to just enjoy scenery, to listen or to appreciate ones surroundings. In R. Moores “Frosts ‘Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening’ and ‘Out, Out--’”, and Swifts “Gullivers Travels” from The Explicator, Moore states that the poet is “...pointless and irrational (95)” for wanting to stop in the woods to watch the snow fall, or without any shelter close by for the horse. This proves that adventure is lacking in society because there is no purpose to stopping in the woods. One may wonder why there must be a purpose, there should not have to be one. In this poem Frost may also speak of how nature has changed man kind. Wakefield states that men no longer have time to enjoy nature (362). They instead only get a peak of it every now and again. Wakefield announces, “This poem is not about woods. It is about a man’s separation from them...” (362). As an example of what Wakefield means Frost writes, “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. / But I have promises to keep.” Frost describes the woods with imagery and then suddenly returns back to his responsibilities at the village. The second a man gets away, he reminds himself of his duties and does not get a chance to breathe. A man is “separated” from nature because he can never rid his mind of life obligations. Frost also rhymes in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The rhyming allows the poem to flow nicely and keep it organized. According to Wakefield in “To Be A Natural Man In A Man-Made World” the rhymings purpose is to keep the flow of “”promises” (363). Rhyme allows the reader to pause in the appropriate spaces. It also gives the reader a sense of “urgency” (363). Frost rhymes know, though, snow and here, queer, near, year. Wakefield states that these rhymes are “Like today’s worker after a frantic day and a tense drive home, he can’t free his mind of the hectic pace of his life” (863). The promises in this poem are the duties a man leaves behind when he tries to get away. In a long drive home from work, a worker may try to relax and unwind. The obligations, or “promises,” he has keep rushing back to his memory forcing him to be stressed. There are a few things holding the poet back from nature in this poem. Wakefield describes it as the panic of someone noticing the poet stopping there and looking at the woods (363). Frost did not want anyone to see him watch the woods fill up with snow. He was self-conscious and the horse is what plays his conscious in the poem. He was afraid that the property owner would notice him and he would get in trouble. It is the fear that holds man back from having an “intimacy(363)” with nature. Frost is an extraordinary writer. His poems release thoughts one may not think of otherwise. In “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” Frost reveals the thought that men no longer have a bond with nature. He states that it is the promises of a man that keep him away from nature and scare him off. If men could learn to just let their mind rest, the nature aspect would come running back.

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