Frost's Mending Wall Essay

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Robert Frost's Mending Wall represents two opposing ideas through its dialogue between two neighbors. The narrator represents a newer way of thinking while his neighbor embodies an older mindset. In the poem the two neighbors are repairing a wall or fence that separates their property line. Although neither of the two men has anything that could cross the fence, the young man has apple trees and the old farmer has pines. The wall has been broken down by the winter that "sends the frozen ground swell under it" and by "the work of hunters" (Frost 1177-1178). The two men work together to repair the wall, a task that seems unnecessary to the young narrator. The older neighbor cannot fathom the thought of not having a wall or boundary to…show more content…
The man cannot understand why his neighbor cannot move beyond the past and what he was taught. In Carol Frost's article, "Frost's Way of Speaking", she says, "The first person speaker in the poem wishes his wall-mending partner would speak for himself and think for himself." (Carol Frost 125). The narrator sees no reason for a wall to separate him from his neighbor, he points out several reasons the wall served no purpose to his neighbor. Neither men have anything that would harm the other, neither have presented an offense to the other, and no matter how many times they mend the wall, it will still be broken down again. The old neighbor, however, does not budge on his demand that the wall be repaired and continue to stand between them. "Good fences make good neighbors" (Frost 1178). This line is repeated several times in Mending Wall. This phrase is the embodiment of what the old neighbor believes. His father told him that good fences made good neighbors, and he stands firm in his belief in the truth of that statement. His young partner seems to believe that the only reason the man believes in his statement is because his Father told him to or because it is embedded into his way of thinking. William G. O'Donnell points out the significance in the old farmer being compared to "`an old-stone savage' moving about in the darkness,
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