“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

Part One

The poem chosen for analysis is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. This poem was penned in 1923. Frost was one of the most prolific writers and poet of the 19th and 20th centuries. In this poem there is an imagery of a traveler in a snowy weather using a horse. The period during which this poem was written coincides with the imagery given, as it was a time when horses were the leading mode of transport, just when the automobiles were about to go mainstream. The poet might also have wanted to allude to the images of his childhood, in contrast with the fast-paced changes in technology that were taking place around him.

The title of the poem is significant with respect to the contents of the poem. The poem is about a traveler’s stop at woods that are familiar to him, as he knows the owner of that land. It portrays a form of loneliness, as the traveler’s only companion is his little horse. The horse is concerned to see its master make a stop with no farmhouse in sight. The worries of this animal are address after it is revealed that the stop was only momentary, and the traveler has to go for miles before he can afford to sleep.

This poem is an iambic tetrameter because each of the lines in the poem has four feet ‘…Whose woods| these are| I think |I know…And miles| to go| before| I sleep…’ the poem also has four lines in each stanza and has four stanzas in total. This emphasizes the tetrameter nature of the poem. This poem has an elaborate rhyme scheme that is as follows: aaba, bbcb, ccdc and dddd. This rhyme is a bit strange, as it gives the impressing of halting and then moving on. The third line in each stanza is the one used to introduce the dominant rhymes in the next stanza (PoemShape par 3). There is no variation in the last stanza, and this can be an indication of either total stoppage of movement or continuation of the journey. With regards to the content of the poem, the last stanza indicates continued movement without any further halts.

The poem has a somber mood, indicated by the imagery of the falling on the woods, the frozen lake and darkness that is approaching. The persona in this poem is neither excited nor sad, and it appears as if the horse carrying him is more emotive than him ‘…my little horse must think it queer…to stop without a farmhouse near…he gives his harness bells a shake…to ask if there is some mistake…’ on the other hand, the persona is seemingly unsure of the actions to take in the beginning of the poem ‘…I think I know…’ indicating a hesitant tone. At the end of the poem, however, the tone of the persona is affirming and determined ‘…The woods are lovely…I have promises to keep…’

In addition to the contrasting tones on the poem, the poet made use of various literary devices to enhance the imagery in the poem. The horse has been personified as thinking the actions of the persona to be queer, for having stopped in a place where there is no farmhouse in sight. Personification is also used in line 9 ‘…he gives his harness bell a shake…’ in reference to the actions of the horse. The effect of this personification to indicate that the animal is in disagreement with the actions taken by its master (Villon 320). There is used of alliteration ‘…dark and deep…’ and repetition ‘…And miles before I sleep…’ the alliteration is used to emphasize the imagery of the weather described, while the repetition is used to break the idea of the persona halting to admire the woods. It indicates that he is once again in motion.

The main theme of this poem is the quietness and loneliness in the outdoors that accompanies a traveler. The cold and dark that is experienced in the winter locks most people indoors. There are no outdoor activities taking place in the snow-covered paths, streets and woods. If one decides to travel, his only companion is his horse, which is also not so excited about moving outdoors in the extreme cold. This poem is about a person on a mission that he is intent on fulfilling despite the challenging weather and cold. In the last stanza, he states that he has a promise to keep, though the audience is not made aware exactly what promise needs to be kept.



Part Two

Summer Loathe

I can’t believe That only

A fortnight ago, I walked on this lake

Like Christ eons ago.

They say summer is bright, But I desist


It reminds of the failures

That I hid effectively, in the cloak of winter

It rouses the jealous beast

On seeing the smiles of others-While hardly my own


Summer uncovers the graves

Of the persons I once cared for

As the flowers, the sunshine they brave,

I have to retreat to my melancholic brave


I will not lie and shout hoarse about the sun

Winter has always been my solace

Defender against nosy friends

How I wait, For the dark days to return



Works cited

PoemShape. “Interpreting Robert Frost’S “Stopping By Woods”.” PoemShape. N.p., 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2017.

Villon, F. “Poems.” Literary Imagination 15.3 (2013): 317-326. Web.