Snowy Evening Interpretation

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Poetry is arguably the most common form of writing which can have multiple meanings and explanations. "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a well-known poem written by famous American writer Robert Frost that does just this. This poem is taught to students multiple times through a student’s education career and each time it is interpreted in a unique way. The poem in its most literal sense can be interpreted exactly as written. On the poems surface it is about an actual journey of a man traveling in the woods who finds peace in the quietness but he cannot stop as he has promises to attend to. This explanation is not analytical in anyway, rather is it quite simple. However, it is very rare that poetry is meant to be taken so literally, as is the case with “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”. This journey through the woods can easily be translated through the journey of life that ultimately ends with death. Another, more likely interpretation, is that of choices. Though Frost previously said that he was irritated by individuals “pressing it for more than it should be pressed for. It means enough without its being pressed…” (Cady) it can easily be argued that this poem is not as literal in meaning as a physical journey through the woods but one that is more symbolic in questioning the choice that the narrator makes. Frost is able to create indistinct meanings to this poem by syntax, rhythm, wordplay, and imagery. He follows a central theme for the majority of the poem and ends with a paradoxical phrase at the end that simply states “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep” (Frost 191). This phrase changes the meaning of the entire poem and allows it to be interpreted in multiple ways. ... ... middle of paper ... ...ne that is clear. One must not make any assumptions to see that the speaker is struggling to make a choice of what he must do. It is evident in the poem that the speaker is faced with a choice of what he must do but it takes further examination to understand why the speaker struggles with this choice. Frost not only leaves the meaning of the poem open for interpretation, he also leaves the conclusion open-ended. Frost also leaves many other questions unanswered such as “It is not known who the person is, nor whether male or female. Neither is it known from where or to where the driver is going, nor why, and the promises the driver must keep also go unexplained. Finally no clue is supplied as to where this scene takes place” (Hochman). Many would argue that this sense of being left with questions rather than with closure or complete assurance is Frost’s signature.
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