Stopping by woods on a snowy evening
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” written by Robert Frost, was on of his most famous works. Robert Frost was an American poet but most of his poems were written while he was in England, and they were published there. “Stopping by Woods” is a great poem because it is easy to understand, but when you read it again there is something more to it. One begins ask is the author trying to say something else. Thus the reader has two ways to analyze this poem, the surface analysis and the deeper analysis. The reader is also able to learn that this poem has two main themes; choices and isolation.
The first stanza of the poem says “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. ” On the surface of the poem the reader understands that this man is traveling in the woods and he sees a house that makes him remember whose woods those are that he is traveling in. The speaker of the poem also says that he is not planning on staying in the woods. On a deeper level the reader beings to question why is he not going to stay in the woods.
Is the traveler afraid of the owner of the woods, does he need to be somewhere, if so, where is it that he needs to be? Is one of his loved ones extremely sick that he needs to get there quickly; maybe he just really wants to get home. Another analysis for this stanza is that the traveler knows that those belong to Gods and he knows that God is watching him. But the traveler does not mind, he is enjoying the view. The second stanza states “My little horse must think it queer/ To stop without a farmhouse near/ Between the frozen lake/ The darkest evening of the year.
” The surface analysis of this stanza is that the traveler is simply appreciating the woods on darkest evening of the year, and his horse thinks it is unusual that they have stopped in the middle of the woods. The deeper analysis of this stanza could be that the things that his horse is thinking could really be the traveler’s conscience. He is really the one who thinks it is weird that they have stopped in the middle of nowhere. Being between “the woods and frozen lake” could also be a symbol about his eccentric feelings that he is not able to unravel.
Why is he feeling that way? He cannot figure that out. “The darkest evening of the year” could be a metaphor that the traveler has hit rock bottom. He is extremely depressed and the reader when analyzing this poem deeply is able to see that. But why is he depressed? The reader begins to wonder about his past and what brought him to those woods. The third stanza of the poem “He gives his harness bells a shake/ To ask if there is some mistake/ The only other sound’s the sweep/ Of easy wind and downy flake.
” The surface analysis of this stanza is that his horse shakes his head because he does not think they should be in the woods, and the traveler can hear the horse’s bells shaking as he enjoys the wind and the falling snow. The deeper analysis is that the horse’s bells could actually be the traveler’s conscience making him feel bewildered and conflicted about something. Perhaps he is confused about what to do in a certain situation, or perhaps he is thinking about a decision he made that he is not happy with, or something he should of done but did not do it.
The fact that he can hear the wind and nothing else shows the reader that he is lonely. Maybe his loneliness is what is causing his depression. Maybe the thing he cannot decipher is why he is all alone with no one at his side but his horse. The last stanza of the poem states “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. ” The surface analysis is simple, the traveler really enjoys the woods but he needs to get going because he needs sleep, and he has a long way to go before he can sleep.
A deeper analysis could be that the traveler has enjoyed the woods but being there alone has made him depressed. When he says that he has promises to keep, one can assume that either he has figured out what was making him upset and he has a solution so he must go; or perhaps he has finally realized that although there are some things in his life he is not happy about but there is always time to make things right and he must go do that. The last two lines of the poem are very powerful, the traveler is saying that before he dies he has a lot of living to do; he repeats that line as to emphasize that to the readers and to himself.
The themes of this poem, isolation and choices, are seen throughout the poem. The author is isolated from other humans because is in the woods by himself with only his horse. The author has a lot of choices to make, whether he should stay in the woods or not. These two themes tie in well with the deeper context of the poem. For example the traveler is isolated because he is depressed, he wants to be alone with his thoughts. The traveler’s choice to continue his journey rather then stay in the woods ties in with the analysis that before he dies he has a lot of living to do.
He made the choice to continue the journey of life. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is a great poem to encourage others. The deeper meaning of this poem is that although life gets hard sometimes, and although it would be much easier to give up and stay in the woods enjoying the snow and the wind, we must move on and continue our journey of life because there are great things ahead for everyone and we all have a lot of living to do before we die.