Q: In some poems what is described is given a meaning beyond the immediately obvious. Explore any one of the poems where this feature is most memorable.
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost is a contemporary piece dealing with the typical human desire for escape. Whether this desire is manifested in avoidance of work, school or simply a relief from the mundane repetitiveness of everyday life this want is present in all humans. Throughout this poem Frost depicts and suggests that the "woods" are his means of escape from the "village", from society, and Frost conveys this by his respectful and almost wondrous diction when describing and referring to, the forest and the nature surrounding it. This poem also clearly portrays the attraction of nature to man; for man nature symbolises escape and embodies mysterious and "dark" and "deep" secrets that have attracted man for centuries. Through his regret to return to the village Frost also conveys the temptation of man to leave responsibility and society and to instead stay with the calm serenity of nature, however, at the conclusion of this poem Frost shows how "promises" and duty eventually turn most men back to their responsibilities.
In the first stanza of the poem Frost introduces his situation, showing himself to be in the "woods." In this stanza Frost often mentions an unknown character, a character whose identity is kept a mystery by Frost's reference to him as "he." Although the identity of this character and his relationship with Frost is unknown it can be assumed that the unknown character is Frost's master, suggested by the Frost's comment that "he will not see me stopping here to watch his woods." This statement clearly suggests that the unknown character has ownership of the woods. Although Frost says that he will "not" stop in the woods, as the poem progresses this statement is belied when he stops to admire the snow and the trees, it is almost as if he is making a pact with himself not to give in to the temptation to stop and stay with nature, and, as his journey through his masters woods progresses this resolve is weakened by the wonder of nature. When Frost does stop in nature this pause could be thought of as a mental pause in his life as well as physical; when Frost stops in nature his duties and "promises" are also paused so he can truly be with nature without being hindered with thoughts of his responsibilities in the "village", representing society. This shows how the splendour of nature can weaken mans' resolve to adhere to his duties and responsibilities in the stressful life of society.
In the second stanza the fact that Frost does not often stop to admire the splendour of nature because of the callings of his duties is clearly conveyed when he writes that his "little horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near"; the horse is a creature of habit and is unused to change in its life, the horse could be viewed as a symbol for the mundane...