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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Q: In some poems what is described is given a meaning beyond the immediately obvious. Explore any one of the poems where this feature is most memorable.

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost is a contemporary piece dealing with the typical human desire for escape. Whether this desire is manifested in avoidance of work, school or simply a relief from the mundane repetitiveness of everyday life this want is present in all humans. Throughout this poem Frost depicts and suggests that the "woods" are his means of escape from the "village", from society, and Frost conveys this by his respectful and almost wondrous diction when describing and referring to, the forest and the nature surrounding it. This poem also clearly portrays the attraction of nature to man; for man nature symbolises escape and embodies mysterious and "dark" and "deep" secrets that have attracted man for centuries. Through his regret to return to the village Frost also conveys the temptation of man to leave responsibility and society and to instead stay with the calm serenity of nature, however, at the conclusion of this poem Frost shows how "promises" and duty eventually turn most men back to their responsibilities.

In the first stanza of the poem Frost introduces his situation, showing himself to be in the "woods." In this stanza Frost often mentions an unknown character, a character whose identity is kept a mystery by Frost's reference to him as "he." Although the identity of this character and his relationship with Frost is unknown it can be assumed that the unknown character is Frost's master, suggested by the Frost's comment that "he will not see me stopping here to watch his woods." This statement clearly suggests that the unknown charact...

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...n be conveyed by the same sentence. It also shows how through the use of key words such as "but" an undertone of regret can be established by the author without that tone overpowering the mood of serenity and peace that is evident in this poem.

This shows that although an explicit meaning is clearly conveyed by the poet in order to establish the implicit meanings of a piece the reader must establish the key words of the piece and analyse these words further until the true or implicit meaning is reached. This is often necessary in poems such as "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" as the hidden meaning is often far stronger, when established, than those moods and, meanings shown clearly at first glance. This poem also clearly depicts mans desire to escape from the difficulties of life, society, duty, responsibility and finally "promises."

Word Count: 1,213
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