Snow Imagery in “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Essay Example
Snow Imagery in “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Essay Example

Snow Imagery in “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 5 (1228 words)
  • Published: December 17, 2017
  • Type: Essay
View Entire Sample
Text preview

Robert Frost (1874- 1963). Robert Frost “was the most widely admired and highly honoured American poet of the 20th century (Eiermann).

” Robert Frost was raised in rural New England where he grew a fond love for the outdoors and nature (Merriman). His love with nature elements has probably overwhelmed him so much that it has been reflected upon in many of his poems such as “The Tuft of Flowers,” “Reluctance,” and “Birches. ” One of the nature imageries that have been used frequently by Robert Frost is the snow imagery. Although the snow imagery appears in many other poems by Frost we will be dealing with the poems “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

” Even though “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” share many qualities such as


the common imagery of snow, the scene of the speaker travelling at night and the quantity of stanzas, they are as equally different or even more so. The speakers of the poems have different feelings towards the snow and on the area that they are in. As a consequence of the different feelings that the narrators have, the poems have different moods and themes. As a result the snow imagery in “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” causes the mood and theme of each poem to be significantly different.

The snow imagery in “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” played an important role in creating the moods for each of the poems. In “Desert Places” the snow imagery conveys the feelings of depressing loneliness and emptiness. It is in the first stanza we

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

are introduced to the setting of the poem. The speaker is outside at nightfall where the snow is falling fast. The speaker sees the field that is almost fully covered in snow.

The only way the speaker is able to tell that it is a field from all the snow is the last “few weeds and stubble (Frost, Desert. , line 4)”. When the speaker looks at the snow covered field, he sees the “blanker whiteness of (the) benighted snow (Frost, Desert. , line 11)” the blankness symbolizes the speaker’s feelings and thoughts of his loneliness and the loneliness the surrounds him.

The whiteness of the field creates an open, desolate, empty space that further enhances the poem’s mood of emptiness and loneliness for the reason because the field is now blank and empty and is smothered by loneliness. The speaker sees that the field has been taken over with emptiness and that the snow has left it “with no expression, nothing to express (Frost, Desert. , line 12)” and the speaker becomes “absent spirited (Frost, Desert. , line 7)”.

The snowy imagery in the field of the poem establishes the mood of desolation and lonesomeness.On the other hand, the snow imagery in Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” conveys a completely different mood from the mood in “Desert Places. ” The snow imagery in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” conveys the feeling of welcome, calm seclusion, and mysteriousness. The speaker of the poem arrives near the woods where he is lured to stop “to watch (his) (the) woods fill up with snow (Frost, Stopping., line 4)”. The speaker knows that they are

not supposed to be there. His horse also knows that they aren’t supposed to be there, “he gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake (Frost, Stopping. , line 9-10)” for he knows that the woods is not their final destination. The fact that it is “the darkest evening of the year (Frost. Stopping. , line 7)” it should alarm the speaker out of his trance with the snow but the speaker is fully mesmerized by the “easy wind and downy flake (Frost, Stopping. , line 12)”. The characterization of the wind as “easy (Frost, Stopping. line 12)” and of the flakes as “downy (Frost, Stopping. , line 12)” implies the speaker’s ability to appreciate the peace and softness of a gentle snowfall on a calm evening. It is also because of the mysteriousness of the woods being “lovely, dark, and deep (Frost, Stopping. , line 13)” that makes the speaker mesmerized. The snow in this poem gave the speaker calmness by the woods and gives the poem the mood of welcome and mysteriousness whereas in “Desert Places” the snow establishes the mood of loneliness and emptiness.

Therefore, if the snow imagery made the mood of the poems different, then evidently the snow imagery will make the themes of the two poems different as well. From the different manipulations of the snow imagery on the moods in “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” it made their themes distinctly different from each other. The snow that surrounded the speaker in “Desert Places” made the field look like an open, empty, lonely place. It is from the surroundings that

the speaker creates his own loneliness.

From this, it is clear that the speaker’s loneliness inside himself/ herself overwhelms them so much that it causes their outlook to be of only loneliness. So in “Desert Places” the theme is that the loneliness that is created from within of the speaker causes him/her to realize or see the loneliness that is inside them and also the loneliness that surrounds them, which is nature. In “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” the speaker becomes in trance with the “easy wind and downy flake(s) (Frost, Stopping. , line 12)” and the “lovely, dark, and deep (Frost, Stopping. , line 13)” woods.

Since the speaker was distracted by nature, the speaker forgets what he was supposed to originally do but remembers after that he has “promises to keep, / And miles to go before (I) (he) sleep(s) (Frost, Stopping. , line 14-15)”. The speaker does not want to go on with his journey and duties but rather watch the calm serene scene of the woods and the snow falling. Thus, the theme of this poem is the speakers struggle between what he wants to do (desire) and what he needs to do (duties/ work).

The snow imagery in “Desert Places” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” causes different effects on the theme and mood in each of the poems. The theme in “Desert Places” was loneliness. The loneliness that was created from within the speaker caused him/her to realize/ see the loneliness that was inside of them and the loneliness in nature. Here, the snow imagery made the scenery deserted, lonesome, and “dead.

” This, in consequence, made the mood

of the poem: aloneness and loneliness. While in “Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening,” the theme was the speaker’s inner conflict between their desires and duties. This theme was created by the speaker’s attraction to the falling snow and the woods. The falling snow made him/her so mesmerized that they had forgotten about their duties. The snow here caused the poem’s mood to be of tranquil welcome and mysteriousness.

Thus even though these two poems share the common imagery of snow, it is the different applications of the snow imagery that makes them noticeably different in mood and theme.

Works Cited

  1. Eiermann, Katharena. Aspirennies. 2008. 4 January 2007 <http://www. aspirennies. com/private/SiteBody/Romance/Poetry/Frost/rfrost. shtml>.
  2. Merriman, C. D. The Literature Network. 2006. December 2007 <http://www. online-literature. com/frost/>.
Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds