Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Analysis Narrative Essay
‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ can be read as the lonely itinerant’s contemplation of the constraints on his life.
On the surface the poem appears to reflect a certain nostalgia for nature’s purity and autonomy; however, the internal struggle of the idle narrator speaks to his profound alienation from the modern world.The poem begins with the narrator stopping his horse with a certain scorn for the absent owner of the woods as they ‘watch his woods fill up with snow. Robert Frost elicits an easy flowing reading of the poem by utilizing the AABA rhyming structure with the B rhyme beginning each next stanza that belies the stagnancy of the unnamed narrator and his unsure horse. Throughout the poem there is a recurring sense of uncertainty that is illustrated through the first two lines of each stanza.The first two lines of the last stanza carry such a great weight precisely because they reinforce the internal struggle of the narrator who in a certain sense wants to be able to continue to contemplate the natural wonder of the ‘lovely, dark, and deep’ woods but at the same time realizes he ‘has promises to keep’.
There is an inherent disconnect between his wonder for the natural world and the constraints placed upon his life by the world made by humankind.The most subtle and possibly most interesting question the poem presents is what fate ultimately awaits the narrator on this ‘darkest night of the year’. Does he choose the slow and agonizing death that his mundane existence promises with the carrying out of his everyday modern responsibilities? Or, does he turn his back on that so-called life and choose to let nature run its course with him in the woods? That question remains to be answered as the poem ends with the man and his little horse yet to make a move.