Robert Frost Essay, Research Paper
In “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” Robert Frost demonstrates a dedicated person’s commitment to life. Despite the hardships and troubles that life carries, the speaker in this poem comes to the realization that he must continue living his life. He makes an important decision that is brought on in a question, which is triggered by the beauty of his surroundings. He decides that he wants to complete the life that he started because of the many obligations he is responsible for. Frost defines the speaker’s character through the decisions he makes, the language he uses and the symbols he uses.
The speaker in the poem is a man who is on a journey through life. He is no different from any other in that respect. People are faced with daily challenges and disappointments and, in turn, want to give up. The speaker, on the other hand, has a strong sense of self and knows that he has “promises” to attend to and will not give up on them. For a certain time in the woods, he is taken away from reality. He is swept away by his calming surroundings into a free and worriless mind set. During his brief flight from reality, the speaker dismisses his duties; he is simply enjoying the peacefulness of the world around him. Although the speaker is so content in his moment of freedom, he is brought back to reality and shocks the reader with, “but I have promises to keep.” Frost is implying that this man is aware of his choices to either go on with life or to give up, and the speaker realizes that he has too much left that he wants to accomplish.
The language that Frost uses provides readers with a clear visualization of the scene and the sense of how it feels to be in such a setting. The language enables the reader to feel as though the “lovely” woods surround them, with the snow gently falling on them. The “s” sound that Frost uses suggests the quiet peacefulness of that very moment. Frost uses the horse as a sense of reality; it is the horse that stays stable and keeps the speaker in line. The horse is very different from the man because the horse is capable of remaining in a normal state despite the strange, luring beauty of the woods. When the speaker is off in his dream world, the horse is what knocks him back into reality. It is then that the speaker answers life’s question that is raised during his delightful reverie.
In this poem, Frost is using sleep to symbolize death, which is portrayed as something wonderful, a state where there is nothing to hold one back. The way Frost symbolizes death in this poem is very clever. Not only is sleep often interpreted as a symbol of death, but also Frost’s description of the snowy, winter night clearly suggests death in itself. As spring is a symbol of life, winter is known as the season that symbolizes death. When something is described as dark, it can easily be interpreted as dying. Death is prevalent throughout the whole poem and the speaker is choosing between it and life. “Sleep” seems so easy and so wonderful to the speaker, but in reality he realizes that he does not deserve it yet. He believes that it is something he has to work for, and once he has completed what he is destined to, he will be given his reward.
This poem has a magical mysteriousness to it. Frost makes this poem vivid through his excellent word choice and effective description. Frost picks the perfect combination of words to make this poem appealing to the reader in both a visual and audible way. He makes the poem flow with the sounds of the words he uses and in doing so, he draws the reader into the depths of the poem’s true meaning. He enables the reader to interpret what is going on in the speaker’s mind. The reader can analyze the speaker of this poem through the decisions he makes, the language in the poem and the symbols in the poem.