Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulder in the sun,
And make gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there,
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There were it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having though of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall


  1. setshumaru says:

    ..according to my own understainding, “MENDING WALL” discusses so many topics..

    first is the wrong beliefs such…
    GOOD FENCES, MAKES GOOD NEIGHBORS could you be close with your neighbor if there is a wall between you and themm..

    second is the relationship between rich and poor
    …just like what Frost said SOME ARE LOAVES AND SOME ARE NEARLY BALLS
    …rich eats loaves and poor eats those things which are nearly balls..

    ..some thinks that it is better for them to live in separate ways..

    …just sharing..c:

  2. mervat says:

    in short mending wall is a poem of brotherhood

  3. Frosty says:

    Frost is only humorously challenging the idea of maintaining walls, his eyes twinkling in elvin mischief at his neighbor whom he would never utter such thoughts to aloud; he knows as well as the next clay-footer that they are indeed necessary just in order to keep the fields free of stones for the plows.

  4. Charlie says:

    What Frost is trying to say in this poem is that walls don’t make good neighbors; walls are unnecessary. Many may disagree, but if the poem is read in-depth, it is obvious that Frost does not condone mending walls between people. The beginning of the poem makes the speaker seem like he’s ok with the wall. That’s actually just because he’s following tradition-he’s not thinking individually. The speaker meets up with his neighbor to repair the wall and the neighbor says, “Good fences make good neighbors.” The speaker then is able to start thinking about the actual purpose of the wall/fence. It doesn’t really do anything except keep the neighbors apart or keep in livestock (which is not present). The speaker likens the neighbor to a savage, making him appear old-fashioned and traditional. The neighbor keeps true to the beliefs held by his father and repeats, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

    The main theme of this poem is to question traditions. The fence (wall) divides the neighbors and alienates them from each other–not exactly a “good neighbor” in itself. From the way the speaker likens the neighbor to a savage, it is obvious that the speaker thinks the neighbor is in the wrong when he believes in mending walls. The fence/wall represents old traditions, especially traditions that are actually bad for society. Frost is sending a message to the readers that we should do away with this “wall” and commit to new ideas which will benefit human relations. However, the pessimistic message he also sends us is contained in the last three lines. The neighbor remains faithful to his father’s tradition and continues thinking well of fences. This represents humans’ conformity. Most people are susceptible to traditional views and thus are hard to change. Frost is negatively saying that most of the time, no matter how bad the tradition is, people still refuse to accept change.

  5. Mansi says:

    just to clarify what Nick in comment 50 said: this poem is not about the Berlin Wall. It is often interpreted like that but this poem was written in 1914, which was before the Berlin wall was constructed.

  6. I. Lao says:

    Mending Wall is one of the poems that I’m studying in IB this year. The poem starts out with the ambiguous “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”. Frost ponders why there’s something in him, perhaps in all humans that doesn’t like walls. Yet the irony is that he contacted his neighbor “I let my neighbor know beyond the hill” to fix the wall. Frost is the one that instigates this fixing of the wall. He also mocks his neighbor a bit, repeating “good fences make good neighbors”, as if the man is very stubborn and determined to fix the fence. Also, Frost’s neighbor seems to be ignorant or simplistic, perhaps even primitive. The neighbor is described to be “like an old-stone savage”. Yet, at the very end of the poem, Frost seems to come to the realization that fences, though he may not like them, are necessary because they give people a sense of security. The end of the poem is much darker than the rest of the poem, and Frost seems to see that there may be a part of his neighbor that he, too, would like to keep away from him, as shown by,

    “In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

    It seems that his neighbor can appear dangerous as well, and Frost ends with his neighbor’s statement, “Good fences make good neighbors”. In short, the fence is what physically keeps the two neighbors apart, but also brings them together each spring to mend it once again.

  7. navare harriott says:

    this poem presnts two views, 1) why do walls make good neighbors? and 2)why dont walls make good neighbors? This is the typical writing style of Robert Frost, he presents a conflict then ask the reader to create his/her own solution. in this poem i think that
    creating the wall maintains friendship, from a metaphorical point of view the walls can be seen as the personal barriers which we build up to maitain a relationship with our peers, that is it is not everything we do that we want our friends to know about hence we create secrets,diaries et cetera to keep ‘things’away.From the other view point i think robert is trying to pose why should we do this?(that is create barriers) Dont we love one another?

  8. bob says:

    i had to do this assignment in english, and we had to pick a poem and this is the poem i picked cuz i really liked it

  9. youssef says:

    three main element silent ,uncommunication and the absurdity of nature ,there is a one part conversation ,which may also signify fear and menace

  10. Christine Fissella says:

    In this poem I believe that Frost is describig a wall that seperates two neigbors. they have no communication between each other and can’t see or speack to each other. I do believe that there are walls soemtimes in todays world. Between, what ethnisity you are, social class, or even in high school the cliques. “The Wall” pervents us from having any friendships build or and other kind of relashonships.

  11. Nick says:

    In this poem “Mending Wall,” the author Robert Frost, refers to the wall as it were the cold war and that was the Berlin Wall. Its about 2 neighbors who don’t get along (just like the east germans and west germans). And its not allowing the neighbors to interact and get to know eachother.

  12. Meghan says:

    is a very neat and interesting poem.

  13. Pots a. Pans says:

    This poem is Horrible. I think they should tear down the wall and be friends. not really. THIS POEM SUCKS

  14. Blu says:

    Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” is a poem about the barriers that people use to
    separate themselves from the outside world and its problems. The two men meet each
    spring to repair the wall that has been damaged by the winter ground swell. Frost shows
    how isolating oneself leads to hostility toward others. Speaker one, who wants the wall,
    hopes to convince speaker two that “There where it is we do not need the wall.” Speaker
    two repeats his father’s saying, “Good fences make good neighbors.” The opposing
    views of human relations, like many relationships in our modern world, are never
    resolved because of how the two men view one another’s ideas. Speaker one sees
    speaker two, at one point, as an “old stone savage armed.” Speaker two simply closes
    his mind to any argument in favor of neighborliness. Both men have been conditioned to
    think as they do. Frost shows how the world as a whole views these ideas. Repairing the
    wall is a metaphor for continued isolation, a condition that gave rise to World war I.

  15. Anna says:

    I think that what the poem is trying to convey is that, yes, sometimes walls are necessary like country boarders or laws. Without most of them we would have a big mess, but some walls are completely illogical. For an example you could use Race, Social Class, or popularity. Some people, out of ignorance, are always trying to place boundaries between these things. Either way, there will always be people who try to break the boundaries down, or rebuild them, whether those “walls” be good or bad.

  16. Megan says:

    I liked this poem and Frost’s casual style of writing. There is a comfort in the annual ritual of resetting the wall and the stubborn resolve of the neighbour to maintain it. I like the humour Frost incorporates. I likethe way he mentions the spell to keep the stone in place and his mischievous notion about the conspiring pixies.

  17. Ian says:

    I am reading this poem and i think it sucks. what was he thinking. My fruity little friend likes this poem. But he is midly retarted. Thought i would leave a comment on how i feel. Bad poem Bad writer.

  18. steve says:

    the poem talks of the routine of events in life. every now and then we try to bring up walls between us and without our knowledge something brings it down and then we realize that we have gone too far with somebody and then mend the wall…. this goes on and on. thats what he is trying to tell thru this poem…
    love to hear from u guys! steve.

  19. Merina says:

    As the saying goes “Good fences make good neighbours”.
    Truly good fences do make good neighbours.There must always be an arm’s distance in your relationship which will strenghten the relationship and tend to last for a long time.

  20. Sara says:

    I love that first two lines –
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
    – the thing under the wall is frost, as in Robert Frost.

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