The Levels Of Complexity In “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening”

1799 words - 7 pages

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, on the surface appears to be a straightforward poem illustrating the monologue of a tired traveler passing by the woods on a winter evening who captures the scenery of his journey and comes to a realization that he has quite a bit of traveling ahead of him before he can rest. The simplicity of this poem is apparent, but at closer inspection there is vast complexity entailed in the wording of Frost’s poem. His words are of two minds in which Frost uses artless objects to connote implied metaphors and uses these objects for further making comparisons throughout the piece.
The simplicity and contrasting complexity of this poem is first apparent in its form. The poem consists of four, four-lined stanzas that all are iambic and contain four stressed syllables. Each stanza is structured almost identically, with exception to the final stanza. The first, second, and fourth lines rhyme, while the last word in the third line sets up the rhyme scheme for the first, second, and fourth lines of the next stanza. The rhyme scheme and sound of the poem at first seem simplistic, but Frost’s achievement of creating a poem by this method is intricate and difficult since the rhythm flows effortlessly and nothing seems to be a forced rhyme. The idea of contrast can be further discovered throughout Frost’s poem as it is analyzed in the first stanza.
In the first stanza the most evident contrast is made between nature and civilization. The speaker of the poem is passing by woods on the darkest evening of the year. He is enchanted by the darkness and beauty of the woods as he is traveling and stops his horse drawn sleigh to watch the snow fall and take in this sight. The first stanza connotes the sense that the speaker is talking out loud to himself by addressing facts of the matter such as, “Whose woods are these I think I know. / His house is in the village though;” (Frost 1-2). The speaker admits that the woods he is admiring are owned by a villager. The first contrast is made by the irony of the woods being a part of nature, yet having a human owner. The simplicity of this statement is that many people own property for the shear fact that it is an investment or perhaps in this case for the resource of timber, but the owner is not present and resides in the village in civilization. For this reason the speaker feels no apprehension in stopping by these woods because the owner is far off in his home in the village and will not see him as he breaks, “To watch his woods fill up with snow,”(Frost 4). By contrasting nature and civilization the speaker may be disregarding the villager’s ownership of the woods and may feel that he is justified to look at the woods because they are truly owned by nature which gives him entitlement to the woods as well.
In the second stanza Frost uses more visual imagery and objects to further establish comparisons. The speaker states, “My little horse must think it queer / To...

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