“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, by Robert Frost, is a short poem written from point of view of a person who appears to be riding towards a distant village. He stops by a patch of forest and is entranced by the natural beauty of the sparkling snow in the trees.
The individual wants to stay and gaze at the scenery longer, but he knows that he has places to go and things to attend to. That is only one way of understanding the meaning behind this poem. In the second source cited, the author analyzed the poem thoroughly and determined the poem seemed to be a metaphor for death (Lorcher).
The title of this poem prepares the reader for the peaceful, tranquil tone of this piece. This poem gives excellent examples of rhyming patterns, personification, and complex themes.
The rhyming scheme in this poem is unique but actually quite simple. The pattern goes like this: aaba bbcb ccdc dddd (Kuiper). For the first stanza, the last words are written know, though, here, and snow. The second stanza: Qu*er, near, lake, year.
The words qu*er, near, and year clearly rhyme with the word here. The “a” in this meter pattern is words rhyming with “know,” and the “b” is the words rhyming with “here.” The “c” consists of words rhyming with “lake,” and the “d” is any word rhyming with “sweep.” These rhymes give this poem a classic feel, and the interesting and different pattern used intrigues the readers.
While the usage is short and not as flowery as many other poems, the personification used in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is very obvious and easy to understand. The author writes that “my little horse must think it qu*er”(Frost 5) and “He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake” (Frost 9-10). The horse cannot think, and the horse cannot actually ask the traveler a question.
The author is using this method to show that something strange occurring in this scene. By giving human characteristics to this animal, the author is using an excellent way to show personification.
The overall theme of the poem is hard to follow, as there could be two themes to the piece. The first that could possibly be correct is enjoying the beauty of nature. If read in this manner, the traveler could only be transfixed by the astounding beauty of creation.
The second theme could be death. “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep” (Frost 13) “Although the woods become inviting to the tired traveler, as death does for some, the speaker realizes he cannot yet stop and rest because of his ‘promises’” (Lorcher). After being thoroughly analyzed, this poem could be seen as darker than what first meets the eye. This metaphor could encourage readers who may be having suicidal thoughts.
“But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep” (Frost 14-15). There is always a purpose and almost a duty in staying alive. These themes interest the reader and keep them guessing at the tone of the entirety of the poem.
This poem uses unique rhyming schemes, personification, and interesting themes to keep readers interested and on their toes. It is a shorter poem, and fairly easy to read. While the themes and metaphors are difficult to understand, they cause the readers to try to decipher what is written in between the lines. Whether this is written in the early 1900s or not, this timeless piece will go on to be a beautiful poem for ages to come.
Frost, Robert. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Norton Custom Library. 2nd ed. Ed. Katie Hannah. New York, 2010. 119-34.
Lorcher, Trenton. “An Analysis of ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost.” www.elacommoncorelessonplans.com. April 17, 2018. Lorcher, Trenton. <https://www.elacommoncorelessonplans.com/an-analysis-of-stopping-by-woods-on-a-snowy-evening-by-robert-frost.html>.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” www.britannica.com. August 17, 2017. Kuiper, Kathleen. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Stopping-by-Woods-on-a-Snowy-Evening>.
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