The Levels of Complexity in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

1795 Words8 Pages
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, on the surface appears to be a straightforward poem illustrating the monologue of a tired traveler passing by the woods on a winter evening who captures the scenery of his journey and comes to a realization that he has quite a bit of traveling ahead of him before he can rest. The simplicity of this poem is apparent, but at closer inspection there is vast complexity entailed in the wording of Frost’s poem. His words are of two minds in which Frost uses artless objects to connote implied metaphors and uses these objects for further making comparisons throughout the piece.

The simplicity and contrasting complexity of this poem is first apparent in its form. The poem consists of four, four-lined stanzas that all are iambic and contain four stressed syllables. Each stanza is structured almost identically, with exception to the final stanza. The first, second, and fourth lines rhyme, while the last word in the third line sets up the rhyme scheme for the first, second, and fourth lines of the next stanza. The rhyme scheme and sound of the poem at first seem simplistic, but Frost’s achievement of creating a poem by this method is intricate and difficult since the rhythm flows effortlessly and nothing seems to be a forced rhyme. The idea of contrast can be further discovered throughout Frost’s poem as it is analyzed in the first stanza.

In the first stanza the most evident contrast is made between nature and civilization. The speaker of the poem is passing by woods on the darkest evening of the year. He is enchanted by the darkness and beauty of the woods as he is traveling and stops his horse drawn sleigh to watch the snow fall and take in this sight. The first stanza connotes ...

... middle of paper ...

...tcome or when taking it a step further can indicate much deeper meanings. The contrast between simplicity and complexity is evident in each stanza through the use of ordinary objects, sounds, and visible imagery to represent something much greater for the speaker and audiences as well. In an interview when questioned about the hidden meanings in his poetry Frost replied, "If I wanted you to know I'd had told you in the poem,” (Keiller). His intention is to allow readers to speculate for themselves the true implications of his poetry.

Works Cited

Frost, Robert. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” An Introduction to Poetry. 13th ed. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, 2010. 418. Print.

Keiller, Garrison. "Robert Frost- Poetry Everywhere." PBS. PBS, 3 Mar. 2011. Web. 01 May 2012. .
Open Document