The poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” has been penned by Robert Frost. This poem can be acknowledged as a pastoral or an autobiographic piece. The poem is about an incident taking place near West Derry in New Hampshire when the poet was returning home located near the harm. It was a time of December evening in the year 1905 when the poet failed to earn money at a fair and was unable to purchase gifts during the time of Christmas for the family.
In the year 1923, this poem came into a publication which means it was published 40 years before the poet died. The poem is all about how natural phenomena can affect one’s point of view and how differently the world can be seen because of the same. Whether you consider this a soothing prospect or dark, the poem reciprocates a strong image of nature that takes him ahead in his life. Right from snowfall to a horse, everyone plays its part in helping him make his decision.
Let Us Analyze The Poem Further To Explore The Beauty Through Words
As stated above, the poem is all about the dark hours of 21st or 22nd December, in the year 1905. At any point in life, when you experienced snow, you might have taken a few minutes out of your schedule to witness how beautiful the surroundings look.
It is soothing to look at this aspect of nature but there is a dark association with the same. It has been seen that in the subject of Literature, nature is more often than not used to explore the relationship between death and life. This is what this poem is all about where the poet captures the relationship between life, nature, death, and man.
According to the poet, when it is passing through the snow at night, he stops and takes a look at the snowfall all around him near the neighbor’s house. At that moment, he also experiences that his horse is moving his harness bells and ask him the reason for the pause in the journey. In this place, he doesn’t take a stop in his usual place so the horse is curious about the reason why he is not moving to the farmhouse where he stays.
But, the speaker stays there without uttering a single word and is adoring the surroundings near him. He stands near the word and is very much affected by the deep silence all around him. He is attracted to the dark silence and quite compelled to take his journey ahead on the snowy pavement.
Finally, after a long time, he decides to carry on the journey as described in his poem through the lines:
'But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.'
As per the analysis, it has been seen that like all the other poems written by Mr. Frost, this one also deals with nature’s contemplation. It is hard to find whether the poem’s tone is more depressing or calm.
As the poet desires to take a moment out of his return journey and witness the beauty of snowfall around him, this shows how he eases with finding comfort in nature. But, this is not it. This might also reflect that he might be sensing going on an adventure that might end up harming himself as he refers to the depth and darkness of the woods.
On the one hand, the speaker wants to take a moment to pause in a quiet spot to watch the snow falling, perhaps to soothe his mind and contemplate nature. The pull of the woods could just be the solitude of being alone and the lure of being free of responsibilities.
The speaker desire to experience new locations, visit new places but because of his responsibilities in the form of his family, community, and others, he is not able to do the same. This shows he is stressed about the same and is taking time to feel relaxed before he reaches home.
But his horse makes him realize that he needs to go home and get the work done as per his responsibility by shaking the harness bells as specified in the lines
“We have places to go. We can't just stand around and watch the snow falling. There's work to be done.”
Now let’s understand the lesson this poem has in store for us. There are quite a few aspects and thoughts that come out of the lines written by the poet. But, there are two possible ways of assessing this poem a lot more accurately.
The first aspect that relates to the respective poem is calmness. As the poem stops by just to check the snowfall around him, that reflects that calm and serene persona of the poet that he is enjoying in the process. But, that’s not it.
The other prospect that comes out of the poem is darkness. As the poet states that he is bounded by responsibilities and would like to go on an adventure. This can lead to danger as well. The responsibilities of family and other aspects are making him think about how he can escape the same and have a soothing life ahead.
These are the two context that perfectly fits the respective poem. It completely depends on one’s view and understanding of which context is stronger and more believable.
Author: Edward Carey
Profile: English Litterature & Essay Writing Analyst
Designation : Professor At Texas University