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Symbolism Behind A Robert Frost Poem

“Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.” Essay, Research Paper Many people consider Robert Frost to be one of America’s greatest poets, and one of his best known poems is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. In the poem, Frost describes a person stopping just outside of town in a wooded area with his horse. He stops for a moment to appreciate the wonder of the world that he has spent so much time in, something that he may not have done much in his younger years.

“Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.” Essay, Research Paper

Many people consider Robert Frost to be one of America’s greatest poets, and one of his best known poems is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. In the poem, Frost describes a person stopping just outside of town in a wooded area with his horse. He stops for a moment to appreciate the wonder of the world that he has spent so much time in, something that he may not have done much in his younger years. The horse could be a symbol of the pressures of the rest of the “civilized” world. The horse nudges the speaker on as if “to ask if there is some mistake,” just as society might nudge someone into movement and not understand the necessity of “stopping to smell the roses.” The last three lines of the poem could be the realization that, although the speaker might like to stay in the woods much longer, there are responsibilities that must be attended to and many things that must be completed before the final rest, death, takes him. The poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is, therefore, an allegory of life showing the need to enjoy life, the pressures that often keep us from enjoying life, and the unfortunate fact, that most people do not realize what is gone before it is too late.

In the hustle and bustle of today’s society, it is often difficult to appreciate the world around us. Many times, due to the pace of our lives, the purity and beauty of nature is often lost in the shuffle. Frost, through his poem may be pointing out that there is more than just the “nine to five.” The wonder of life, the falling of the leaves, the smell of a flower, the touch of a friend; all of these things are what makes life worth living. These are the “little things” that people mention when reminiscing of the past. The speaker of the poem stands in the cold and admires the beauty that surrounds him, a beauty that he passed without notice on untold number of occasions, and although he would like to stay, the pressures that have caused his inattention in the past are soon to encroach again.

Frost, in line 7, may be using the symbolism of the horse nudging the speaker as if “to ask if there is some mistake” to show the pressures that are placed on us through our daily lives: society, family, and fiscal solvency. In other words, we must resist the temptation to slow down so that we can be valuable members of society, provide for our family and have the material wealth to show others of our prowess. Frost seems to be advising that, although one must normally succumb to these pressures, one must make time to revel in the joy of life, lest the chance be taken away. Frost is showing in a very poignant way that life is too short not to celebrate in the awesome beauty of the world around us.

The last three lines of this poem are symbolic of the realization that, between being born and dying, there are many things to do. Frost may be showing that, like so many of us, he realizes that the completion of responsibilities is the only way to enjoy the pleasures of life. The fact that Frost repeats the last line “and miles to go before I rest” gives a sense of weariness to the reader. It shows the terrible price that we all pay, the price of our lives committed to the service of someone else. What a wonderful society we have wrought that indentured servitude is accepted, and the beauty of life is something only sampled in between requirements of our taskmasters. We live our lives through a series of benchmarks. I must graduate high school. I must get a college degree. I must find a spouse. I must start a family. I must get that promotion. I must show my boss that I am worth that raise. Then, when our youth, usefulness, and worth to those we seemed to find so important is gone, we are allowed to relax. What irony that when most people reach retirement, that euphoric era when responsibilities are a thing of the past, they are unable to enjoy themselves. Again, the realization of all the things that could be is too late in coming.

In this one short literary work, Frost seems to point out that so many of us lose out on so much that has been placed on this earth for us to enjoy. Whether that loss is due to the pace at which we live our lives, the pressures from the outside world, or the requirements of our responsibilities is irrelevant. Whatever the reason, a loss it is, and a loss that we might not feel until it is too late for us to do anything about it. It seems that Frost is trying to show the reader not to take things for granted as we walk our daily paths, and to stop, just occasionally, and smell the roses.

Timothy Jones

Poetic Analysis of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”.

A poem by Robert Frost.

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