Robert Frost’s Mending Wall
In his poem 'Mending Wall', Robert Frost presents to us the thoughts of barriers linking people, communication, friendship and the sense of security people gain from barriers. His messages are conveyed using poetic techniques such as imagery, structure and humor, revealing a complex side of the poem as well as achieving an overall light-hearted effect. Robert Frost has cleverly intertwined both a literal and metaphoric meaning into the poem, using the mending of a tangible wall as a symbolic representation of the barriers that separate the neighbors in their friendship. “Mending Wall” is about two neighbors who disagree over the need of a wall to separate their properties. Not only does the wall act as a …show more content…
The use of conversation and the thoughts of the narrator reflect the poet's own thoughts. In line thirty to line thirty-five, the narrator questions the purpose of a wall. He has an open disposition and does not understand the need to “wall in” or “wall out” (line 33) anything or anyone. Imagery is one of the poetic techniques that Robert Frost uses in ‘Mending Wall’ to convey his ideas. In the first eleven lines of the poem, Frost uses imagery to describe the degradation of the wall, creating a visual image for the reader. The sentence structure of the first line in the poem places emphasis on “something”. This, compound with the use of personification, makes “something” appear alive and even human-like. Animate qualities have been given to
“something” through the use of the words “love”, “sends”, “spills”, and “makes gaps” (lines 1-4), illustrating a vivid impression of the degradation of the wall. Nature, in the form of cold weather, frost and the activities of small creatures, gradually destroys the wall. The narrator seems to believe that walls are unnatural and suggests that nature dislikes walls. This is portrayed through the phrase “sends the frozen ground swell under it” (line 2). The poem describes nature-making holes in the wall large enough that “even two can pass abreast” (line 4). Literally, this refers to the size of the holes. However, it may also be interpreted that
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
In life, many people have parts that they let people see of them, and other parts that they keep hidden. Many times, we build these walls to shut people out so people can never really see what is going on inside. These “walls” keep many of one’s deepest secrets hidden. In the poem, The Mending Wall, by Robert Frost, shows a mindset of two neighbors who continue to adjust and mend their wall between each other. This idea of confinement is seen throughout the poem to show that the neighbor is trying to protect themselves. This creates speculation upon the speaker of what exactly are they trying to hide. One might see this poem as meaning a physical barrier, but this is more of an emotional “wall” or barrier that this poem creates. In the poem,
Yet, Mending Wall opens with the syntactical positioning of ‘something’ at the start of the sentence highlighting the puzzle that he is seeking to deceiver on the insight that he is searching for as the word ‘something’ has connotations of an enigma that he ponders on. Then, Spring is personified as a kind of animating force evident in the verbs, ‘sends’, ‘spills’ and ‘makes’ as being the physical explanation for the dismantled wall due to the stones yielding to the gravitational pull of the Earth and the contraction of the melting ice. The speculative tone continues in the fifth line ‘work of the hunters’ tone of reprimanding and disapproving, ‘left not one stone on a stone’. There
In “Mending Wall”, the author uses a metaphor that represents a similar conflict to convey the theme of the poem. In the poem, two neighbors come together every spring to repair a wall when the speaker lets his “neighbor know beyond the hill;/ And on a day we meet to walk the line/ And set the wall between us once again (Frost 12)”. The speaker does not think they need the wall though, because “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/ What I was walling in or walling out (Frost 32)”. In the metaphor, the wall represents a feud or rivalry that is separating the neighbors. This
“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, the fifty-six line lyric poem gives off a sarcastic tone that expresses impatience with his neighbor and the “wall.” The poem focuses on a theme of separation, the necessity of boundaries and the illusory arguments used to annihilate them.
In “Mending Wall”, two neighbors are ironically united by the traditional rebuilding of the wall between them. A wall symbolizes boundaries, orders, and separation. Or does it? One of the two neighbors doesn’t seem to think so. “Good fences make good neighbors” is his motto. (Line 26) The neighbor doesn’t see how ironic it is that the wall is a meeting spot. He uses the wall as an excuse to talk with his neighbor, because he is not very open or conversational. The situational irony ostended by Robert Frost is that the wall between the two clashing neighbors is supposed to separate them. However, each year, when they meet to “walk the line”, the wall serves as a meeting spot for the two to catch up. (Line 12) Dividing, but unifying, Frost uses the wall to symbolize unity amongst clashing people. Without the situational irony of repairing the wall, the two incompatible neighbors would unlikely be able to unite.
The poet also used imagery to appeal to the senses. The puzzling force that abhors the wall "sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, and spills the upper boulders in the sun."
While the narrator seems more willing to reach out to his neighbor, in the end, he does not. He does wonder why fences supposedly make good neighbors. For him, the question is what is he "walling in or walling out"? He seems to realize that he is "walling out" other people. As long as the symbolic wall stands between the neighbors, they will always be separated. Earlier in the poem, Frost uses the symbolism of a rabbit to seemingly reinforce this point. The hunters must destroy the wall in order to "have the rabbit out of hiding". The men, in turn must break down the walls between them if they are to come out of "hiding". The narrator seems to have a desire to point this out to his neighbor. However, he does not, simply dismissing his idea as "the mischief" that spring has instilled in him. He realizes that he is unable to communicate with his neighbor in any meaningful fashion and, thus, remains in isolation from him.
Similar to “Acquainted with the Night,” isolation is a major theme in “Mending Wall.” In “Mending Wall,” there are two characters: the speaker and the neighbor. The two characters have two different opinions on what make a “good neighbor.” The neighbor views walls as a crucial object in
The use of symbolism in the poem “Mending Wall” expresses the new age American way of thinking in contrast to the social tradition of the old-world. In the poem, the speaker and his neighbour meat ritual every year in the spring to make repairs to the wall that divides them and their property. It could be argued that the holes in the wall are a symbol for the deterioration of old-world traditions. The speaker says in regards to the holes in the wall “No one has seen them made or heard them made, But at spring mending-time we find them there.” Everything will erode with time. Whether it is as simple as the stones of a wall, or as grand and seemingly untouchable as the traditions or culture of
The discoveries we make can come as a result of questioning society and the world around us. Conversely, discoveries can also be the catalyst for us questioning our world and society. These discoveries, while sometimes uncomfortable, are what allow us to develop as people, through the consideration of new values, and revelations of different perspectives. Robert Frost explores this in his 1914 poem Mending Wall, where the persona makes spiritual and intellectual discoveries, causing the questioning of traditions, societal barriers, and human relationships. The first person structure and natural imagery in Mending Wall trigger the persona, and audience alike to explore and question elements of their own society, leading to intriguing ideas
However, when the responders’ delves deeper into the poem, it is clear that at a allegorical level the wall is a metaphor representing the barrier that exists in the neighbours’ friendship. The first eleven lines of the poem if rife with imagery that describes the dilapidation of the wall. The first line of the poem emphasises that “something” exists that “doesn’t love a wall”. This personification makes the “something” seem human-like. The use of words such as “spills” and “makes gaps” convey an image of animate actions and create a vivid impression of the degradation of the wall. Nature, presented in the form of cold weather, frost and the activities of creatures, also seeks to destroy the wall. The idea that walls are unnatural and therefore nature abhors walls is portrayed in the phrase “makes gaps even two can pass abreast”, which metaphorically indicates that nature desires for man to walk side by side with no barrier between them. When the two meet to fix the wall, it is a metaphor that could be interpreted as the two repairing their friendship as “To each the boulders have fallen to each” which shows that faults in their relationship lie on behalf of them both. While they are mending the wall, a light-hearted tone is established. This is shown through the inclusion of the metaphor “spring is mischief in me” which shows the neighbours having fun together in repairing the wall,
“The parallel plots of a novel… would act in the reader's mind and perhaps the author's as a kind of splitting” (Holland). Frost meant the wall to embody the physical and psychological boundaries people set up to maintain their privacy. The narrator tone for most of the poem is ironic, because he expresses his desire to rid himself of the wall “There where it is we do not need the wall” (Frost 245), but he repairs it nonetheless, “I have come after them and made repair” (Frost 245). Frost introduces the reader with different causes for the recurring destruction of the wall. The narrator’s first possible cause is nature, but does Frost means a force of nature? His choice of words where “Frozen-ground-swell” (Frost 245), which is another way of saying Frost. The poet might be indicating that in actuality he is the one that want the wall destroyed. The second possible reason for the wall’s destruction is the hunters. The narrator constantly expresses his dislike of the wall, but is quick to reprimand anyone who destroys it; in this case the hunters. The narrator’s act of patching the wall when damaged, is a clear sign that he yearns for a psychological to distance him from the neighbor. This ironic tone continues throughout the poem, but it is never completely clear it the speaker wants the wall removed for good, or keep it as it is. The neighbor on the other hand,
In the poem, “The Mending Wall” Frost creates a lot of ambiguity in order to leave the poem open for interpretation. Frost’s description of every detail in this poem is very interesting, it leaves the reader to decide for themselves what deductions they are to be making of the poem. To begin with, Frost makes literal implications about what the two men are doing. For instance, they are physically putting the stones back, one by one. Their commitment and constant drive shows how persistent these men seem about keeping the wall intact. On the other hand, there are inferences that something deeper is occurring.
In Roberts, Mending Wall, he expresses the alienation within our society. This story was and is very controversial throughout history. Written in 1914, it became widely known for its connection with racism and segregation. In 1960, Frost was asked to read it for President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. In JFK’s inauguration speech, he declared, “We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom”(Kennedy), which shows how he felt about segregation. This created a skirmish throughout the U.S., because this poem was so controversial. The poem, which was a memory when Frost was a young boy, consists of him walking the line. Walking the line means picking up rocks that had falling from the ice melting, recreating the fence between you and your neighbor. Frost suggests alienation in this story by using symbolism of the lines between African Americans and white folk. In the poem he asks the question, “Why do they make good neighbors”(line 30)? An interpretation of this line is that he is asking the question, ‘why do we have these lines between our people? There is no reasons to have these lines separating us?’. The poem suggests that we get into routines and then never break them because we have done them for generations. Frost challenges this, asking questions that are very hard to answer.