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Analysis and comments on Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

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Comment 70 of 1060, added on August 1st, 2005 at 11:32 PM.

"The woods are lovely,dark, and deep.
And I have promises to keep.
And I have promises to keep."

These words are so applicable to starting my new life, i.e., to study to
become an Immunologist, I quoted them in the
Dedication page of my Dissertation.

Joan Breuer, Ph.D.

Dr. Joan Breuer from United States
Comment 69 of 1060, added on July 27th, 2005 at 4:31 AM.

I love this poem. It's one of my all-time favourites and my students insist
it reflects my somewhat morbid taste in poetry. Well first I'd like to
agree with those who feel this poem has a sucidal sub-text. It also touches
on emotional isolation; it's clear that the persona feels alienated or
enstranged from both man and God. Why do I say this? Let's begin with the
suicide notion. The persona is clearly in a state of deep depression - "the
darkest evening of the year" could be a metaphor for what he perceives as
the lowest moment in his life. He sees no hope in his present situation -
"Between the woods and frozen lake". All around him is dark, depressing and
dreary. The poem is also set in a winter landscape and we all know that in
many cases in lit, winter and its images are evocative of death. The woods
which would normally synmbolize life - green vegetation, animals,
seedlings, etc; now are symbolic of death - "To watch his woods fill up
with snow". There is clearly no life in this woods. The "frozen lake" is
another powerful metaphor for death as the water - usually a symbol of life
- is now frozen; again indicative of death. Therfore when he says in the
last stanza that " The woods are lovely, dark and deep", Frost is clearly
suggesting that death [the woods] is a seductive and comforting idea for
the persona in his current situation.

What then suggests that he's alienated from God and man? Well, look at the
setting the persona is placed in. The only other living thing is the horse
described as "little" to show how insignificant it is as a companion. It
cannot possibly offer the necessary companionship/solace that the persona
requires. So clearly he feels removed from human companionship. What about
God? Now if we agree that the woods symbolise death, then we can re-examine
the first two lines of the poem with fresh insight. The persona suggests
uncertainty about the owner of the woods - "Whose woods these are I think I
know" - but paradoxically, he is very sure about where his house is to be
found - "His house is in the village though". If the owner of the woods is
the owner of life and death [which the woods would symbolise in the
different seasons of the year], the this owner could only be God. [House in
the village clearly now referring to the church normally found in most
villages in England and America]. However he is not very sure about God in
his clearly depressed circumstances and he also feels that God is far away
from him - "...in the village".

So what does the persona finally decide to do? Although he finds himself
drawn to death - "The woods are lovely, dark and deep" - he feels compelled
to go on living because of his obligations/responsibilities: "But I have
promises to keep". The persona is clearly a man of honour. he also feels he
must live out his alloted span of years: "And miles to go before I sleep" -
if u consider sleep to be a euphemism for death. The repetition of this
line shows how reluctant he is to go on because the desired end is not in
sight - he must still be relatively young - but go on he must!

Gosh, this turned out to be longer than I intended biut like I said, I LOVE
this poem. It's an obsession!

Njoki from Kenya
Comment 68 of 1060, added on July 25th, 2005 at 11:09 AM.

This poem was found on Jawaharlal Nehru's (ex Prime Ministero of India)
table just after his death. Probably he was reading the poem the previous
day. Maybe he was pondering over the 'promises he had keep'

Subodh Sharma from India
Comment 67 of 1060, added on July 19th, 2005 at 2:35 AM.

Stoppinh by Woods on a Snowy Evening is one of Robert Frost poems I ever
loved. Especially the last four lines gives us a courage to face the coming
ordeals in life without being coward and forgetting the thought of ending
one's life.
I try to skip through these lines during the desperate moments in my life.
Poet says suicide is not the only remedy towards depression.
He conveys us to look into the world with an optimistic vision.


Delphy from India
Comment 66 of 1060, added on July 12th, 2005 at 11:32 PM.

This poem has always given me the vizualation of an old man who has lived
his life and is ready to die. As he readies himself for transition he sees
that he still has more to achieve and must continue. This is a poem
depicting the temporary victory of life over death.

Nathan
Comment 65 of 1060, added on July 5th, 2005 at 11:32 PM.

nothing can be made without efforts and hardwork . this poem indicates the
tale of horse which remind his master that he has a lot of work (to reach
to his destination) by his bells(horse bells) . one should follow the
message given in the poem that "donot stop till u reach ur goal" .


satinder paul singh from India
Comment 64 of 1060, added on June 27th, 2005 at 2:09 AM.

Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening critically
examines the rationality of human beings. He postulates that the
intelligence of animals is far higher than that of the human beings.

The speaker stops by a wood mainly for quenching his pleasure. In a sense
there is a suspension of rationality and the speaker is overwhelmed by the
beauty. He forgets time and space in which he is. It is only after the
horse's bell the speaker realizes the responsibility. The poem is thus a
valorization to animal's rationality.

Khagendra Acharya from Nepal
Comment 63 of 1060, added on June 25th, 2005 at 12:22 AM.

Wow! Suicide? Really? I've always loved this poem and that's NEVER
occurred to me! This poems always made me feel very happy. I've always
kind of thought it was about Santa Clause...

Al from United States
Comment 62 of 1060, added on June 23rd, 2005 at 12:10 PM.

This poem written by Robert Frost is just nice. Its like 'The Road Not
Taken'. For me, Robert Frost is the best poet I know. His poem is simple
and touching. And he adds in rhymes and rhythms to spice it up. Just nice.

Redzuan from Malaysia
Comment 61 of 1060, added on June 23rd, 2005 at 3:01 AM.

the last 3 lines are so inspiring. they tell that we have responsibility in
life and we shouldnt expect luxury all the time

shabana from Singapore

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Information about Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: 24. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Volume: New Hampshire
Year: 1923
Added: Feb 1 2004
Viewed: 2654 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 26 2000


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