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Analysis Of Mending Wall By Robert Frost

2952 words - 12 pages

Analysis of Mending Wall by Robert Frost


Robert Frost was inspired to write Mending Wall after talking with one of his farming friend Napoleon Guay. He learned from talking with his neighbor that writing in the tones of real life is an important factor in his poetic form (Liu,Tam). Henry David Thoreau once stated that, “A true account of the actual is the purest poetry.” Another factor that might have played a role in inspiring Frost to write this poem was his experience of living on a farm as a small boy. Mending Wall was published in 1915 along with a collection of Frost’s poems in North of Boston. Theme Statements Nature dissolves the barriers that humanity erects. The purpose of the wall in this poem was to isolate one’s personality and privacy. In line one and thirty-five, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” reveals that nature has no boundaries, and because it, “doesn’t love the wall,” nature attempts destroy that boundary to bring humanity and the environment together in a harmonious bond. Nature has made, “… gaps even two can pass abreast,” shows how nature has made a hole big enough for one person to walk across, and towards another person’s property to talk. But, it also shows how humans are still unknowingly walling one another out from each other’s lives. Tradition undermines the desire for change. As the poem progresses it gradually changes from young ideals to old tradition. The old man in the end, is presenting what he learned from his father through tradition. In line 43, “He will not go behind his father’s saying,” it clearly states that he will not stray from his father’s teachings and the tradition set by his antecedents. Why change something they isn’t broken? Even though the youth has his points as in lines 24-26, “He is all pine and I am apple orchard. / My apple trees will never get across/ And eat the cones under his pines,” the youth will never affect the old man’s tradition. Apples come and go with the seasons, but pines are forever and never out of season. Change instinctively challenges and questions the ideals of tradition. In order to change, one must first break tradition. But, in the poem the old man does not want to change and break tradition. The person who is willing to question tradition and confront the problem is the young man. He uses those “w” words to ask the question, “There where it is we do not need the wall,” and “Why do they make good neighbors...Where are the cows?” The youth is asking logical questions, but is rebutted with the answer that, “Good fences make good neighbors”. The youth challenges the old man to say what is on his mind, but the old man is an, “old-stone savage armed,” who, has no ideas of his own and, “moves in the darkness,” of the traditions he follows. Tone Narrative and explanations (lines 1-22) In these lines, Frost is introducing the setting, characters, and the conflicts to the reader. We also get an explanation about how, “Something there is that doesn’t love...

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