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Essay about Robert Frost Explains Why Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

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Robert Frost examines what role fences play in shaping relationships between neighbors. Do neighbors get along better because of walls separating their properties? Frost quotes his neighbor several times as saying “good fences make good neighbors.” But the idea has several interpretations. The most obvious meaning is that walls separate people from one another and that this separation eliminates the possibilities for feuds or disappointments, or trespassing, both literally and figuratively, on a neighbor’s domain. A second possibility is that fences make for good neighbors because each year Frost must work with his neighbor to repair the fence. The joint cooperative effort means that the neighbors have a reason to get together at least once a year and complete a common task under positive circumstances.
The first line of the poem supports the second idea: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” The wall requires annual repairs because over the course of a year the stones in the wall fall out and various natural objects create spaces in the wall. Human forces, including hunters, also cause breaks in the wall, showing that trespass is a common event in Frost’s world. To deal with these problems, Frost and his neighbor “meet to walk the line, And set the wall between us once again.” Each neighbor stays on his side of the wall as they make repairs, which would seem to support the neighbor’s belief, learned from his father, that privacy and distance is the best way to maintain good relations with neighbors.
Frost observes that the wall serves no formal purpose, and he considers debating the purpose of the wall with his neighbor. He thinks of saying that before building a wall “I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling o...


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...ife, despite Frost’s thought to blame elves for the wall’s disrepair. Nature is possibly personified in the opening line as the “Something” that does not love a wall and causes the wall to suffer from natural forces as well as human interventions. Nature is a force with a personality of sorts. There is no allusion to any historical character, although the use of elves is a reference to mythical creatures (unless you are a die-hard Hobbit fan).
Frost’s conclusion that the wall is necessary if only to keep his neighbor happy is supported by the whimsical nature of the verse. The poem’s tone is light and Frost’s emotions are never angry or annoyed. He accepts his lot with the wall, and he does his best to make lemonade from lemons. He knows he will never change his neighbor’s mind, and for Frost it is just another event he adjusts to without becoming upset about it.



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