True Beliefs Essay, Research Paper
Robert Frost s Minding Wall is written natural, yet there are many things beyond the literal world of the poem that can be taken out of context. The poem is about two neighbors and a wall between them and both of them also have different beliefs on why or why not the wall should be there. This paper will describe both the speaker and neighbor s characters, and also give an interpretation and analysis of a few specific lines from Robert Frost s, Mending Wall poem, Then ending up with an over all analysis of the poem s meaning.
In Frost s poem there are two characters that have a rock wall which serves as their property line. The first character is the speaker, who seems to be kind and has an education, or at least much so than his neighbor. His intelligence is shown through his open-mindedness toward other people s opinions, although he knows that changing his neighbor s beliefs may be impossible. Also he is able to place himself inside his neighbors point of view and this may be where the speaker comes up with the question why fences make good neighbors. The speaker does not believe there is a purpose for a wall between him and his neighbor, the speaker believes that fences, or walls in this case, will create barriers between friendships and also allows for unneeded separation between people. Despite this belief that a wall is unnecessary, he still comes out every year and helps his neighbor mend the wall. The speaker would like to ask his neighbor the question why fences make good neighbors but the speaker wants to hear his neighbor say it himself. The speaker also says if he was building a wall he would like to know what he was walling in or out and to what or whom he needed to take offense to. This is where the speaker is trying to rationalize what purposes a wall would need to be built.
The second character in the poem is the speaker s neighbor, who is more down to earth. He is a decent person but seems to lack the intelligence of the speaker to accept any outside opinions. To prove this point, the neighbor repeats himself over and over by saying, Good fences make good neighbors, and will not to stray from this belief, a belief which came from his father and that he will not accept as being wrong. The reader can tell how devoted the neighbor is to his beliefs by his coming out every spring to fix the wall, unlike the speaker who does it only out of kindness and curiosity.
The neighbor has limited himself to only one opinion, his fathers, and that could show his ignorance. Because the neighbor is unable to consider or listening to what the speaker has to say, he deprives himself of any information that could possibly be more beneficial to himself or others around him. On the other hand, the neighbor could be right with his beliefs, but the only way to know if he is right is when he can consider all angles to a situation, including his neighbor s viewpoint. Then he would have to ask the same question that the speaker does concerning why fences make good neighbors. Maybe the neighbor assumes his father knew the answer to this question. If the neighbor could consider all opinions, the speaker would better understand why he says, Good fences make good neighbors , and if he is unable or unwilling to do so than the reader could infer that the neighbor is mostly dependent on tradition. The passage could depict that the neighbor accepts things as they are told to him and not as they actually are.
The reader may think that the wall between the two neighbors represents more than just a dividing point. It could represent a difference in beliefs between both of the characters. For instance, the speaker is willing to ask why the wall is needed while the neighbor believes what his father has always told him without questioning or asking why a fence makes good neighbors. Also the speaker is able to see many perspectives or opinions on having or not having a wall. For example, he says, Why do they make good neighbors? Isn t it/ Where there are cows? But here there are no cows ( Mending Wall Frost 1191 l. 31-32). The speaker thought about why someone would need a fence and the reason he came up with did not fit the situation. Therefore the speaker concludes with his beliefs that fences do not make good neighbors.
The time period of the annual mending of the wall is in spring, and spring can often alter the way some people react to things. For example, when the speaker is thinking to himself, Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder/ If I could put a notion in his head: apparently there is a drive in the speaker to change his neighbors beliefs (Mending 1191 l. 28-29). The mischief in this line could represent the speakers need for change or trying to change something that seems nearly impossible. Perhaps he sees the old belief of his neighbor as unnecessary, and would like to add his neighbor in a new understanding of his old beliefs. The notion in this line of poetry is the question that the speaker asks himself about why fences make good neighbors. The speaker may think that if he could get the neighbor to listen to this question then maybe it would help him or cause him to rethink his beliefs. Therefore causing his mind to become more open and his beliefs to become more logical.
The poem as a whole could also be about human nature. People have a natural tendency to build up walls. They push people out and shut people off. However, at the same time they do not want to build these walls. People in general want to have a life without walls and want to let people into their lives. Frost may feel a little of both when he writes about the mending of the wall and says, And on a day we meet to walk the line/ And set the wall between us once again (Mending 1191 l. 13-14). The two neighbors meet and come together, yet they push each other away once again. This shows both tendencies to come together and build walls to keep apart. This could be a barrier separating two people or things.
When Frost wrote this poem he may have been trying to send a signal or message to the reader. This message could be to have an opened mind about other people s beliefs. Also he is attempting to make the reader ponder on why, physical or mental, walls are needed and if there needed at all or at least ask why they are needed. The reader may conclude after reading this poem that he or she may need to reevaluate there own beliefs and then reinforce which ones they understand to be true. Now on the other hand the reader may think that Frost wrote this poem for nothing other than the literal meaning that fences do not make good neighbors.
Robert Frost wrote the poem Mending Wall naturally and simple, however it can have many separate meanings derived from the text literally or metaphorically. In my opinion Frost is trying to open the reader s mind in choosing between true beliefs and beliefs that carry no real meaning if the right question is asked. Overall this poem display s the many feats of human nature.