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Literary Analysis of Robert Frost's "Stopping by the Wood on a Snowy Evening"

Literary Analysis of Robert Frost's "Stopping by the Wood on a Snowy Evening"

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Published by Craig Cole

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Published by: Craig Cole on Jul 30, 2009
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05/11/2014

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Literary Analysis of 
Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”
a.i.State what attracts the speaker to the woods.
The writer is attracted to the woods by its beauty and serenity.
a.ii.Describe why the attraction is so powerful.
The woods present an escape from the reality of his usual life and offer a sense of calm that he lacksdue to his many obligations.
 b.i.Pick out THREE images in the poem.
The poem employs the use of visual and audio imagery. Three cases that exemplify this are, “To stopwithout a farmhouse near” (Visual); “the darkest evening of the year” (Visual); “He gives hisharness bells a shake” (Audio).
 b.ii.Comment on the effectiveness of each image.
The imagery used in the poem allows for an intimate view of the writer's surroundings. The first example, “...without a farmhouse near” shows a lonely and uninhabited place. It brings to point that the characters are far away from civilization/society or possibly the ideology and constraints of it.“The darkest evening of the year”, the next example chosen, symbolically adds gloom to the poem,that otherwise alludes to the beauty of the woods. This causes the reader to question the simplicity of the poem: is it in actuality a ruse to hide an underlining message? The final example, “He gives hisharness bells a shake”, while personifying the horse, ironically pulls the reader back to the realitythat this peaceful place may only be a dream.
c.State TWO contrasts which are mentioned in the poem.
This poem as a whole is laden with contrasts that are rather subtle, in terms of the way they are presented. A contrast between responsibilities to society and freedom can be understood from the poem when analyzed in its entirety. Another, rather obvious, example of contrast in is seen in the third  stanza: the abrupt sound of the harness bells versus the silence of the easy wind and downy flake.
d.Comment on the effect of the repetition in the last two lines.
The repetition of the phrase, “And miles to go before I sleep” in the last two lines, is the paragon of the poem's duality of being simple and complex. While the final lines usually conclude or resolve themoot of a poem or any other type of literature, Frost uses them, in this poem, to give way to thought.The reader is allowed to choose a desired scenario from his/her interpretation of the preceding  stanzas.
 
e.State THREE conclusions the speaker seems to have reached in the last stanza.
 If the poem is seen as simple then the repetition is simply to emphasize the idea that the fanciful woods , though enticing, must ultimately be given up for the reality and importance of duty: hisobligations and promises cannot be set aside as for his personal gratification. Another scenariocould be that the speaker, regardless of his weariness, realizes that this temporary rest will subtract  from the much needed rest that will come only at his journey's end. Conversely, it can also be seenmetaphorically as the writer considering his imminent mortality and the need to experience life to the fullest. As a result he may have chosen to risk staying in these beautiful and serene woods for fear that he would not have the opportunity to experience them again. After this “stop by the woods” thenarrator may have chosen to move on or to stay, this is solely dependent on the reader'sinterpretation and choice.

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