Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Satisfactory Essays
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

This poem is layered with different meanings and it requires the reader to contemplate Frost's emotions behind the words. Like most of Frost's poems, "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" can be read on several level yet you can ignore them all and still enjoy the surface meaning. On the surface of this poem, it's talking about a man traveling through the woods with his horse and they stop near someone's house. The horse wants the man to continue but he wants to stay. Being in the woods causes the man to reflect on the larger tensions between duty; his "promises to keep"(13) and the desire to do what he wants. However, in order to fully understand the emotions and the deeper meanings within this poem, we'll analyze these three aspects of the poem: images, rhythms and meanings.

This entire poem uses words that paint very vivid images of gorgeous winter, lovely dark woods and peacefulness, which inside causes a certain friction or tension. Also there is a sense of darkness in the poem, such as in the "darkest evening of the year"(8) and "The woods are lovely, dark and deep"(16). And the fact that the poem takes place in the isolated woods, there is a certain quality of peacefulness and stillness being portrayed as in the "frozen lake"(12) and "The only other sound's the sweep/Of easy wind and downy flake"(11-12). "Between the woods and frozen lake"(7). This notion of being in between those two things is a significant tension in the poem. Therefore without these exact words, this poem could lack several layers of meaning and emotion. Just below the surface there is the sleep/death metaphor, and the undercurrent of gentle longing for death tinges the surface with a melancholy that reinforces and plays off the night and winter images. But the imagery of the poem quoted above creates in the reader the actual feelings of peace, beauty and tension; these actual feelings make up a range of experience entirely different from the experience of the rational thought that sums up the poem.

All stanzas have a regular rhyme scheme of the last word of the first, second and fourth lines in each stanza (AABA, BBCB, etc.) except for the last stanza, which is all in the same rhyme (DDDD). Besides that, the last word from the third line rhymes with the following stanza's lines one, two and four.