Essay Robert Frost Snowy Evening

902 words - 4 pages

Poetry Essay

Snowy Woods: a Peaceful Moment or Crucial Crossroads? An essay on Robert Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening".

"Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening", when read casually, presents the reader with a quiet moment, a respite, a short break from a journey. Peaceful and sleepy it almost comforts the reader with its imagery and sense of calm. Yet under that calm is a lot of emotional undercurrent, similar to the surface of a frozen river. Its what's under the ice that is more interesting.
Our main character, tells us in the first stanza that he has paused a moment (line 3). He has paused to take in a peaceful scene. The visual imagery of the woods filling ...view middle of the document...

Why did he stop? Is he tired? If so is he physically tired or just in need of a mental break? A mental break from what? Who owns the woods? Why would he mind? What's to mind? Nobody would mind someone watching their woods? This forebodes something almost sinister. Yet there is no fear in the poem. Is the rider numb from the cold? Why does his horse think it's queer to stop? Is it a short trip that wouldn't normally require a short rest? If so why does he say he has such a long way yet to travel? What is the significance of being between the lake and woods? Is it metaphorical? Is he between a rock and a hard place? Does he have difficult decisions to make? Why is it so dark? Is it really "the darkest evening of the year"? It's not storming. It's snowing significantly but still quite calm. And how can it be dark with snow all about? So his darkness must not be physical. Is it emotional darkness? Spiritual? Does it come from within or without? It would seem that it comes from without and that the jingling of the harness bells is a bright cheery sound that attempts to push away the darkness yet becomes absorbed by the soft wind and hushing snow. In the fourth stanza the woods seem to call him. What are they offering him? Is it something entirely too peaceful? Perhaps the dark slumber of death? Is he contemplating suicide? Is his life like his painted story? Peaceful yet cold? And yet he turns away from the attraction of the woods. Why? to keep his promises. What...

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