Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Essay

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"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "Mending Wall"

An Analysis of Two Robert Frost Works.

James Allen once said, "You are today where your thoughts have brought you ;you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you." ;After reading the two Robert Frost poems, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and Mending Wall, one can not help to wonder what kinds of thoughts inspired these two poems. It becomes clear that the underlying theme in both of these poems is simply freedom of thought. These free thoughts give a person the capability to live how he chooses.

In the first poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Frost vividly describes a freedom that many of us take for granted. He tells how he has decided to take the time to stop what he is doing and admire the snow as it falls in the woods and on a frozen lake. The man who owns these woods lives in the town and is ignorant of the beauty that they contain. He has not taken the time to notice how beautiful they are as the snow comes down. The owner of the woods, weíll call him Bob, lives in the town and is busy living his life in the town. Bob will not notice because he takes for granted the fact that he is able to go look at the woods much like the author. "Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though ;He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow." ;The persona is saying that he knows who owns the woods, but he wonít see him looking at the woods because he lives in the town. The author knows that Bob will not visit because he only owns the woods, he lives in the town and does not appreciate the beauty they possess or he would be there visiting them himself.

The author is appreciating life and the freedom that he has while observing his own winter or the last stanza of his life as he watches the woods as they fill will snow. It is clear that the author (the persona of the poem) has chosen a life different from that of Bob. Bob has chosen the city life of materialistic things while the author has decided to take in the beauty of the world. His life has reached its winter, itís end, and he is stopping "To watch the woods fill up with snow," ;perhaps for the last time. He understands that he may not have much time left and he want to get as much as he can out of his life. He wants to see all the beauty that exists, whether it is in the woods or elsewhere. The mere simplicity of this peaceful scene brings him joy. However, the man who lives in the village does not reciprocate Frostís joy. He is taking care his materialistic worries living in the village and has not come to see his woods. Frost on the other hand has taken the time to watch the woods for he has little time left. "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." ;Frost then returns to reality. The woods are nice but he also has things that he must do and literally a long way to go before he is home. Metaphorically speaking, he still has a while to live. Either way he is happy because he has had the freedom to enjoy his surroundings.

In the second poem, Mending Wall, Frost talks of the wall he and his neighbor erected between their properties. The wall gives him something to take care of, something to complain about, and something to talk about with his neighbor. At the same time this wall provides him with a degree of privacy. On the other hand, the wall creates a sense of captivity. By acting as the wall it is, it limits his freedom. Freedom seems to fight against the wall. Freedom can be thought of as the force that keeps destroying the wall every spring. New life is forcing its way through the rocks but the man feels threatened by this new life and the uncertainties of freedom and therefore reconstructs his wall to keep it contained. They both act like the wall is a necessity though there is no real urgency for it. Then he says he really does not know why he has built this wall in the first place. "Why do they [walls] make good neighbors? Isnít it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall Iíd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense." ;The author is not afraid of the outside world and he is not afraid of his neighbor. However, the freedom that breaks down the wall every spring is halted. The wall, though it serves no function is reconstructed every spring and only manages to isolate him from the freedoms he desires. Everyone else enjoys their freedom, but he is kept captive by the wall. In the quote I used at the beginning of the paper, it said that you only get to where you are willing to take your thoughts. In the case of the man who is too afraid to tell his neighbor to let down his walls and let others go in, he wonít allow his thoughts to make him free. He ponders the significance of the wall and probably realizes that it is useless and does nothing but act as a responsibility. This is much like the man in the first Robert Frost poem. He does not bother to look at the woods because he has responsibilities in the village he must take care of. Without these responsibilities, he may also stop to watch the woods fill with snow.

Whether it is a wall or a responsibility that needs taken care of, the underlying message in both poems is neglect of freedom and how worthwhile it is just to stop, and enjoy yourself and the beauty of your surroundings. In the end, it comes don to how you choose to live. Listen to your thoughts and the truth. For the truth will set you free, and we will not be here for eternity. So, discover these basic freedoms and the beauty that lies in the world. Do not be like "Bob" ;or the man who refuses to take down his walls and let himself out and others in.

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