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My first response to this poem was that it seemed simple. To me, the speaker is simply stopping by the woods on snowy evening and enjoying the peaceful scenery. His senses are heightened and he is taking in the sounds of the falling snow and the winter wind. However, he cannot ignore urgency that calls him to keep going. He wants to stay in the woods, but realizes how many miles he must travel before he can sleep for the night. As I thought about the simplicity of this poem, I knew that there had to be more to a Robert Frost poem. I began to compare this poem with the way that Robert Frost usually writes. He is known for writing about death and darkness. I decided to reexamine the poem and look for evidence of death. It actually became quite apparent. He describes the woods as lovely, dark, and deep. Death, to some, is lovely. It is definitely dark, and the grave is deep. When he is in the woods he is far away from the city. The city can be considered a symbol of life. There is always a lot going on in a city. He knows that it is not his time to die, and he cannot stay in the peaceful woods. His horse reminds him that it is not his time to die by making noise and disturbing the tranquility of his moment or death. At the end of the poem the line referring to miles before he can sleep lets the reader know that the speaker has a lot more life left before his death.
Speaker and Tone
I think the speaker in this poem is a man for two reasons. First, I picture this poem to take place many years ago. He refers to a village and that his transportation is a horse and carriage. Also, I think it is a man because during this time period a woman would not be alone in the woods. The overall tone of this poem is peaceful. The speaker sets the mood of serenity and total enjoyment with his surroundings.
Structure and Form
The poem consists of four almost identically structured stanzas. Each line is iambic. Within each stanza the first, second, and fourth lines rhyme. The third line does not, but it sets up the rhyme for the next.
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The diction of this poem is simple. There are no difficult words or language to understand. The poem uses language that is colloquial to 19th and early 20th century lifestyles. The man is on a horse that shakes his harness bells. Harness bells are not everyday language in the 21st century. They are on a cart pulled by a horse. That lets the reader know that the poem is not current. The other words of the poem illustrate peacefulness and content. They are all easy and paint passive pictures in the mind of readers.