STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING
Often, a poet uses special intensity through the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm. In his poem “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening,” Robert Frost, who is the author clearly shows the struggles that a stranger faces when presented with the choice between the serenity of the woods and his duties and responsibilities to the village.
- Time of poem: Iambic
- The number of iambic feet in each sentence and stanza of the poem
- Identifying stressed syllables
- Four stanzas
- The stranger comes across the woods
- The horse he is riding on wonders why they have to stop
- The sound of the horse’s bells brings the stranger to the world of reality from the world of fantasy
- The stranger realizes that he has to exercise self-control and go back to the village owing to his duties and responsibilities to the village despite the serenity of the wood pulling him in.
- Enjoyment of the woods vs. the obligations of the stranger to his village
- Civilization vs. wilderness
- Horses bells bringing the stranger from the world of fantasy
- The stranger realizes his obligations to his people in the village
The poet of the poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” clearly displays the struggle of the stranger considering that he has to choose between the serenity of the woods and his obligations to the society. The poem may seem simple on the surface, although a deeper analysis of the events gives the reader an insight of the events and struggle of the stranger. The stranger takes the lovely scene in near-silence, is tempted to stay longer, but acknowledges his or her task and responsibilities to the village and the distance he or she has to cover before taking a rest for the night. The poem consists of four stanzas which are almost identically constructed. Each line is iambic with four stressed syllables (Rashid, 2014). In the first stanza, the stranger intrigues the wood on his or her way into the village and resists the urge to get into the wood for his or her pleasure. The poem concludes as the stranger is brought into reality by the horse’s bells and has to make a decision on whether to stay in the woods head in the village.
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Self-knowledge through nature is one of the dominant themes of the poem. On this day, the stranger and the horse come across the woods that the stranger finds intriguing and finds himself struggling with reality. The stranger begins to question his sanity of understanding what is right to do considering that he has obligations to the village and he or she wants to get into the wood to have some enjoyment (Rodriguez, 2014). However, the horse’s bell brings him or her to reality, and he has to make a decision based on self-knowledge of his situation and duties ahead.
The struggle in the poems starts when the stranger stumbles upon the woods on his or her way to the village. Despite having mixed feelings towards the woods and his obligations to the society, he clearly knows what he has to do, and that is to go back to his village and serve them. The woods immediately attracts the stranger, and he knows that the owner of the woods cannot see him or his horse so he stays to “watch (the) woods fill up with snow” the woods represents the wilderness and the freedom that the stranger has yet to find in the village.
The poet goes on to use symbolism in his work by using the village where the stranger comes from to represent civilization. Both the stranger and the horse live in the village which is a clear indication that they live at the center of civilization. Moreover, the village acts as a constant reminder of all the responsibilities and obligation the stranger has to his community (Duban, 2014). On the same note, the society also presents all the promises that the stranger has promised his community as he clearly states in the poem that he has miles to go before he sleeps and back in the village he has promised he has to fulfill his promises to the villagers. As a result, the promises helps to bring the stranger back to the world of reality when he seems to forget his obligations.
As the stranger and the horse approach the woods, the horse notices something unusual as there is now a farmhouse near and he shakes the bells on his harness bringing the stranger back to reality. The poet displays a common struggle that most people face in the real world. As human beings, we all have a secret pleasure and place of serenity just like the stranger, but the responsibilities and obligations towards our lives and those of others prevent us from enjoying the pleasure more often. Despite the presence of enjoyment and happiness, we should choose the right thing just like the stranger obligations and responsibilities towards our lives and those of others.
Duban, J. (2014). Eternity Looking through Time”: Sartor Resartus and Frost’s” Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. . Philosophy and Literature, 38(2), , 573-577.
Rashid, A. &. (2014). Using Poetry as Literary Text in the Language Classroom: A Language-based Approach to the Poem,‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. .Asian Journal of Research in Social Sciences and Humanities, 4(7), , 60-67.
Rodriguez, C. &. (2014). The Psychology of Frost in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”.