Robert Frost Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Essay

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An Analysis of Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

The images in the poem “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost are very vivid. . The man telling the story is telling events as they happened in his own eyes. His descriptive language allows you to picture the events in your own head, as if you were watching them occur.

Frost structures this poem very interestingly. He uses inverted sentences, which are common in poems because of the way they seem to flow, the atmosphere they create, and also for the purpose of rhyming. An interesting rhyme scheme is used here. The first, second, and last lines of every stanza rhyme, but the third does not. However, that third line does rhyme with the first, second, and fourth…show more content…

Secondly, however, and more importantly, I think he may’ve written it to give those who are in a similar situation an outlook on their predicament, and to help them solve their problem.

The tone of this work of literature is somewhat laid-back, and at the same time mysterious. The choice of words creates a sort of eerie feeling, because the images are dream-like and slightly clouded.

A strong image portrayed by Frost in this poem is that of the woods. They are described as ""lovely, dark and deep,"" (Frost, Line 13) and are a sight enjoyed by the man in the poem. They have a legitimate literal meaning, that of being an actual forest which the man is looking at. When looked at from a symbolic standpoint, however, they can be seen as standing for peace, death, and solitude. This is accomplished by the three adjectives, lovely, dark, and deep. The facts that it is the darkest evening of the year, and that it is snowing, serve to escalate these images. The drowsy, dream-like atmosphere of the line, “Of easy wind and downy flake” (Line 12) also gives the feeling of wanting to stop and rest.

This image played a major role in the poem as a whole. While the man is wishing to stop and take the “easy way out,” he is being held back. In a literal sense, this is accomplished by the horse. While the man is mesmerized by the scene, “[The horse] gives his harness bells a shake.” (Line 9) This brings the man to his senses, and he remembers he has things he must

On a dark winter evening, the narrator stops his sleigh to watch the snow falling in the woods. At first he worries that the owner of the property will be upset by his presence, but then he remembers that the owner lives in town, and he is free to enjoy the beauty of the falling snow. The sleigh horse is confused by his master’s behavior — stopping far away from any farmhouse — and shakes his harness bells in impatience. After a few more moments, the narrator reluctantly continues on his way.


In terms of text, this poem is remarkably simple: in sixteen lines, there is not a single three-syllable word and only sixteen two-syllable words. In terms of rhythmic scheme and form, however, the poem is surprisingly complex. The poem is made up of four stanzas, each with four stressed syllables in iambic meter. Within an individual stanza, the first, second, and fourth lines rhyme (for example, “know,” “though,” and “snow” of the first stanza), while the third line rhymes with the first, second, and fourth lines of the following stanza (for example, “here” of the first stanza rhymes with “queer,” “near,” and “year” of the second stanza).

One of Frost’s most famous works, this poem is often touted as an example of his life work. As such, the poem is often analyzed to the minutest detail, far beyond what Frost himself intended for the short and simple piece. In reference to analyses of the work, Frost once said that he was annoyed by those “pressing it for more than it should be pressed for. It means enough without its being pressed…I don’t say that somebody shouldn’t press it, but I don’t want to be there.”

The poem was inspired by a particularly difficult winter in New Hampshire when Frost was returning home after an unsuccessful trip at the market. Realizing that he did not have enough to buy Christmas presents for his children, Frost was overwhelmed with depression and stopped his horse at a bend in the road in order to cry. After a few minutes, the horse shook the bells on its harness, and Frost was cheered enough to continue home.

The narrator in the poem does not seem to suffer from the same financial and emotional burdens as Frost did, but there is still an overwhelming sense of the narrator’s unavoidable responsibilities. He would prefer to watch the snow falling in the woods, even with his horse’s impatience, but he has “promises to keep,” obligations that he cannot ignore even if he wants to. It is unclear what these specific obligations are, but Frost does suggest that the narrator is particularly attracted to the woods because there is “not a farmhouse near.” He is able to enjoy complete isolation.

Frost’s decision to repeat the final line could be read in several ways. On one hand, it reiterates the idea that the narrator has responsibilities that he is reluctant to fulfill. The repetition serves as a reminder, even a mantra, to the narrator, as if he would ultimately decide to stay in the woods unless he forces himself to remember his responsibilities. On the other hand, the repeated line could be a signal that the narrator is slowly falling asleep. Within this interpretation, the poem could end with the narrator’s death, perhaps as a result of hypothermia from staying in the frozen woods for too long.

The narrator’s “promises to keep” can also be seen as a reference to traditional American duties for a farmer in New England. In a time and a place where hard work is valued above all things, the act of watching snow fall in the woods may be viewed as a particularly trivial indulgence. Even the narrator is aware that his behavior is not appropriate: he projects his insecurities onto his horse by admitting that even a work animal would “think it queer.”

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