The poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost is one that appears rather simple. The speaker is walking through the woods that have been freshly laden in snow. He is admiring the scenery laid before him. Even though he wants to stay and take in more of what he is seeing, he keeps his other duties in mind and how much distance there is left for him to fulfill them and mentions there is a choice he has to make which is considered most suitable.
The poem begins with the speaker entering into these woods. He claims to know the owner of the woods but he states that he (the owner) lives in the village and he or anyone else can see him trespassing.
The speakers’ horse shows some form of dismay and acts as if he is protesting against his owner when he stops to observe his surroundings, since there is no other form of visible life around.
At the very start of the poem it gives a hint that the speaker likes the feeling of being isolated from civilization since the woods have no other houses or people nearby. Since there are no other people around, he seems to be at ease with himself. It’s as though he is taking a break from his hectic lifestyle in these woods.
He is momentarily away from all his work, his social life, his regular daily stresses or anything else that might make him unbalanced. He decides to use this opportunity to bond with nature, this shows that the speaker is indeed a nature lover and he cannot help himself but to admire what is seeing. He observes the way the snow is falling and making the trees, land and the lake white and cold. He gets this sense of serenity and simplicity as he gapes on at the act nature makes.
The speaker appears to be very kind and caring because he tries to understand what his horse is trying to tell him. It shows that he cares about his horse dearly and he loves it, the same as with nature. There is also the feeling of depression as he is partly drawn back to his reality when the horse alerts him. He thinks about the duties left to be fulfilled and is taken aback. One of the main influential literary techniques Frost uses in this poem is imagery. This poem continually shows that even though he is enjoying his sights, he is always pulled back to his reality. The horse represents his constant reminder of where he is in life and “the promises he has to keep.”
The fact that the horse even questions if it is really necessary for him to stop, “to ask if there is some mistake,” it shows that the horse is telling him he has places to be. The imagery also shows that the man is questioning whether he should continue his journey or not since he is wary and wants to retire from his life. He is observing his scenery as if he his noting where he is going to die, “the darkest evening of the year” and “miles to go before I sleep.”
The lines “…lovely, dark and deep” gives the impression that he thinks death is more calming and soothing to his needs and once he dies he will truly be at peace and the woods are drawing him in closer and closer. This form of imagery also gives the woods this mystical nature. However in the end of the poem he chooses to continue on his journey and fulfil his promises and he ignores the temptations of death. In the poem the lines “…frozen lake,” and “darkest evening of the year,” symbolizes that all is not well in the speakers life. It indicates how dark and cold his life is at the moment. The woods take the role as the symbol of death, especially in the lines “the woods are lovely, dark and deep.” It is as though the woods have this magnetic force persuading the man to surrender his life.
Traces of personification can be noted in this poem where the horse is concerned. In the lines “my little horse must think it queer,” and “to ask if there is some mistake,” the horse has been given the human abilities to ask and think about what the man is doing. In the first and third stanzas there are adequate amounts of alliterations that can be observed. For example the constant use of the “th” in “Whose woods these are I think I know…….in the village though” and the “w” in “Whose woods….he will not …..to watch his woods,” in the first stanza create these alliterations. In the first and third stanza the alliteration is created when the excessive use of the “h” in “his house….he will not…to watch his woods,” and “he gives his harness bells a shake.”
In the end of the poem there is a main metaphor, “and miles to go before I sleep,” this metaphor means that the speaker is trying to complete his tasks before he dies. Sleep often represents death and the miles would represent his journey until he reaches his final destination in this life. The style of “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” makes it easy to read the poem; it gives it a natural flow. Frost writes the poem in the iambic tetrameter (four feet). For example, 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 rhyme scheme of each stanza is continuous and flows in the order of A, A, B, A. it introduces a new rhyme on the third line of each stanza. Even though this poem appears to be simple it contains a few surprises for its readers. It exposes how desperate a person can be in order to seek some form of pleasure in their life. It shows how many people take the beauty of nature for granted, it helps to demonstrate how big of an effect harmonizing with nature can have on us. The illusions of life can be clear to the mind once given the opportunity.
While the speaker was observing the woods he felt relief and a form of unknown happiness which he clearly longs for. It shows that if he does nothing to help himself in this life he will not know true happiness anytime soon unless he gets out and fulfills it. This theme of choices in life is common to the usual work of Robert Frost.
Many of his poems are affiliated with the life and landscape of New England and this one is no different. Frost, an American poet who wrote in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries, he usually uses nature and vivid imagery to bring across his points and the messages in his poems. His work encourages us not to give up when we think life has no real meaning or purpose anymore, but that we do in fact have plenty to live for even though we may get wary. It is always better to experience your own happiness rather than to observe someone else’s at a distance.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Rhyme, Form & Meter” Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. http://www.shmoop.com/stopping-by-woods-on-a-snowy-evening/rhyme-form-meter.html
John Hollander. “A Close Look at Robert Frost”, Copyright 1998 The Academy of American Poets. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15894