Analysis of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

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Robert Frost and His Poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Robert Frost is one of the renowned American poets of the 20th Century. Frost's literary works were first published in England and later on published in the United States of America. Frost was often fond of writing about various aspects of the society which earned him various awards for the exemplary qualities of his literary works. This paper will, however, focus on just one out of the many publications that were done by Frost, that is, his poem titled "Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening". It is necessary to point out that this poem was published in 1923 together with his New Hampshire collection and is considered one of his best poems. The poem vividly describes the character's sense of self and the readers can relate it to the author's perception of the society and his personal life. This paper will analyze Frost's poem by focusing on three elements that are evident namely the setting of the poem, imagery employed by the poet and the underlying theme that was being advanced.

The Setting of the Poem

The setting of the poem is believed to be Franconia, New Hampshire, Frost's hometown. Anyone who has read the poem can accurately relate to the fact that it depicts some of the inherent traits that Frost possesses, particularly the fact that he pays a lot of attention to details. This is something that is neatly outlined from the first to the last stanza of the poem. In the first stanza, for example, Frost gives a description of how a small village experienced winter on a particular evening. Frost's obsession with nature is clearly depicted by his desire to trespass on another person's property in order to experience the falling of the snow. The second stanza sharply contrasts the glorification of nature as was portrayed in the first stanza. This is because, in a rather sudden twist, Frost departs from the enthusiasm that he earlier depicted when he states that "My little horse must think it queer...To stop without a farmhouse near" (Frost).

Imagery in the Poem

In the third stanza, the poet employs auditory imagery at the expense of visual imagery that is often favored by most authors. This makes the poem more interesting and tends to paint a vivid image of what was transpiring. The audience is drawn to the sound of the bells, the wind as well as the downy flake. There is a sharp contrast between the shaking of the bells and the rather sweeping sound "of easy wind and downy flake" (Frost). The poet seems to be alluding to the contrasting nature of urban areas and the rural areas.

The Theme of the Poem

In the last stanza, Frost advances the theme of the poem that urges people not to give up. This is evident from the fact that the speaker seems to have made his mind on what he intends to do since in the subsequent stanzas he had been weighing his options. Frost attempted to assert that in as much as he the lovely, dark and deep woods, he had some obligations that he needed to fulfill. Therefore it becomes evident that the speaker's desires to appreciate the beauty of nature conflicts with his inherent obligations. The repetition that is evident in the last two lines of the last stanza which states "And miles to go before I sleep" emphasize that even though people might want to give up, there is much more that they can achieve before they ultimately die.


In light of the foregoing, it is clear that Frost captured the struggles people go through in the society. At times one is faced with situations where they feel the desire to give up but since there is so much at stake, it is necessary that they soldier on. I chose this poem since I found it fairly short and its underlying message is easy to discern. Furthermore, I connect with the poem since I have been through various situations that I felt like giving up but looked back at where I have been and what I desire to achieve and this kept me going. After reading the poem, I learned that the commitments that we make in life are what will ultimately drive us. Finally, I will remember the poem because of the imagery that Frost uses in his poem which compliments the message he is trying to convey and ultimately makes the poem more appealing and interesting to the readers.

August 21, 2023


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