Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

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This essay is included my own understanding, plus some information that I gathered from a lot of researches and critics’ comments on this poem. I, myself interpret this poem through the first perspective I would explain about, and in two other perspectives my ideas hardly is included.

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Complete Text

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

On the surface, this poem is simple. The speaker is stopping by some woods on a snowy evening. He/she is taken in the lovely scene, is tempted to stay longer, but admits that there is a long distance to travel before he or she can rest for the night.

First of all it should be mentioned that wherever there are symbolic words in a literary work, there would be numerous different interpretations. In other words, symbolic words make us to interpret a work in so different ways as far as the work permits and supports the interpretation.

In regard to this point, different interpretations on the poem ”Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” are inevitable. Because this is a symbolic poem, full of symbolic words such as woods, horse, dark, snow…etc. As far as I researched, it seems that all the interpretations are through three common perspectives, those I explain about one by one, from more dominant to less.

Perspective 1: Life/Beauty

In brief, in this perspective we see the speake...

... middle of paper ...

... fellows who go ahead and say all sorts of things. He makes my "Stopping By Woods" out a death poem. Well, it would be like this if it were. I'd say, "This is all very lovely, but I must be getting on to heaven." There'd be no absurdity in that. That's all right, but it's hardly a death poem.

On the whole we can see this poem (with any interpretation) in a psychological way:

According to Freud we have three parts in our unconscious mind:

1: Superego: represented our conscience and acts against the Id with a primitive and unconscious sense of morality.

2: Ego: the part of your mind with which you think and take action. Ego stands in between the Id and the Superego to balance our primitive needs and our moral beliefs.

3: Id: the part of your mind that is completely unconscious, but that has hidden desires and needs that you try to meet. It is organized around primitive instinctual urges of sexuality, aggression and the desire for instant enjoyment or release.

In this poem:

Superego: the horse
Ego: the Speaker/Frost
Id: the woods

And finally we can say this case is quite like “To be or not to be” in Hamlet.

Majid Olyaei/ Guilan University/ May 13 2005
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