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Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

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Autor:   •  February 4, 2011  •  2,155 Words (9 Pages)  •  899 Views

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This essay is included my own understanding, plus some information that I gathered from a lot of researches and critics' comments on this poem. I, myself interpret this poem through the first perspective I would explain about, and in two other perspectives my ideas hardly is included.

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Complete Text

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.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sounds the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Summary:

On the surface, this poem is simple. The speaker is stopping by some woods on a snowy evening. He/she is taken in the lovely scene, is tempted to stay longer, but admits that there is a long distance to travel before he or she can rest for the night.

Interpretation:

First of all it should be mentioned that wherever there are symbolic words in a literary work, there would be numerous different interpretations. In other words, symbolic words make us to interpret a work in so different ways as far as the work permits and supports the interpretation.

In regard to this point, different interpretations on the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" are inevitable. Because this is a symbolic poem, full of symbolic words such as woods, horse, dark, snow...etc. As far as I researched, it seems that all the interpretations are through three common perspectives, those I explain about one by one, from more dominant to less.

Perspective 1: Life/Beauty

In brief, in this perspective we see the speaker/Frost is between the attractions of the woods; which is here symbol of life; and responsibilities outside the woods (in the village).

Let's analyze the poem:

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.

First stanza gives us an imagery in which the speaker/Frost is far from his house to watch the beautiful falling snow. He comes with his horse to the woods covered with snow, and is attracted by it's beauty. He is losing himself, his previous life, his previous character, as he says "I think I know". He cannot strongly say that there are his woods and the house is his.

The line "his house is in the village, though;" is where the division lies, between village which would be "society", "civilization", "duty", "responsibility", "sensibility"; and the woods which is beyond the borders of village and all the things it represents.

And the next line emphasize that he forgets his previous character which he had in village. The more important point that this line represents is that he doesn't like to be seen by others; sensible people who live in the village or society, because they would disapprove and criticize his action; stopping alone there, in the dark, in the snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

In the first two line of second stanza, we see that Frost expresses society's criticisms with the horse, in fact he ascribe it to the horse. Horse is representative of sensibility and humanistic features. So, the horse is puzzled by his action; stopping there, too far from house/society. The next lines give a better image of scene. It's quiet and cold place. These lines remind that the speaker/Frost is fascinated at the side of a natural beauty of that place (far from society) while it is confusing for the horse to be there.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sounds the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

This stanza shows the strangeness of the situation for society or sensible people. The other living being, the horse (who is symbol of people of society and represents sensibility and humanistic feature) takes action to find the reason for the odd and strange stopping. The noise of harness bells provides contrast to the silence of the scene, when the only sounds are the wind and the falling snow. The wind, falling snow and also the woods (in second stanza) are symbolizing natural beauty, freedom, peace, a world apart from human rights and obligations; which are features of the village or society.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

The final stanza brings all the feelings and sentiments of the poem together; an intense love of nature, and some tasks and obligations which take away the speaker's rest. The line "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep" shows how situation in the woods is beautiful, attracting and pleasing for the speaker. It means he likes to be in a peaceful, beautiful

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