Summary of “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” By Rober Lee Frost
Introduction of the poem:
Robert Lee Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco California USA. He is the winner of four Pulitzer Prizes. His famous works include The Road Not Taken, Mending Wall, Birches, Nothing Gold Can Stay, etc. He told one of his friends that “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” will be his “Best Bid For Remembrance”. He died on January 29, 1963, in Boston.
Apparent Meaning of the poem:
On the surface, this poem is simple and a unique piece of writing. Apparently, the speaker stops in the middle of a dense forest on a snowy evening. He is intrigued by the stunning scenery and hence is enticed to stay longer. Then he realizes he has many responsibilities to fulfil before he can rest for the night.
Hidden Meaning of the poem:
The speaker/narrator is charmed by the momentary distraction from worldly obligations, allowing himself a moment of peace. Basically, Frost is nature-loving and he has expressed his fondness and appreciation for beautiful nature quite often in his poetry. In this poem, Frost grounds his character in a thick forest, mesmerized by the snowy evening. Some critics suggest that the horse is actually the narrator, or at least, in the same mindset as the narrator, echoing his thoughts. The way he personifies his horse also brings attention to the meaning.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Stopping By Woods In A Snowy Evening is about a traveller’s journey and the thoughts he gets when he encounters a very cold, dark and lonesome place; the woods. The cool wind is blowing which makes the branches move in a graceful manner. The scene of white snow falling in the dark woods is bewitching.
“Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity.”
The speaker knows whose woods he is in but he also knows that the owner of the house has gone somewhere else. Hence he can stay in the woods, enjoying the ravishing scene of nature without being distracted. The scene of this cold night allures him. He admits feeling transfixed by the woods, enveloped in nature’s exquisite beauty.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
Then he introduced the readers to his companion and carrier of his journey, his horse. The horse is not comfortable at all being in this dark, lonesome, place that is filled with unsettling quietness. He is probably used to stopping only near warm farmhouses where the animals and their riders could enjoy food, shelter and comfort. The anxious horse shows his discomfort by moving his bells, trying to get the attention of the rider. The bells jingle playfully revealing the horse’s inclination to leave the woods for good, which feels melancholic and solitary. This ringing of the bells brings back the narrator into reality. The only other sound besides the ringing of these bells is that of the wind and falling snowflakes, which mesmerizes the speaker.
The speaker finds the woods very alluring and captivating but he has obligations to fulfil elsewhere. He knows there are many more miles to go. He has many promises to keep and his responsibilities are waiting for him. His commitments pull him out of the woods and take him back to his destination.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep
but I have promises to keep”
The poet is trying to tell us that we should understand the difference between the world of reality and the world of imagination.
Writing a poem that can connect to everyone was Robert Frost’s expertise. This poem is one such poem that seems very simple at first look, but as you try to understand it, you see the intricate meaning and message behind the simplicity of the poem.
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