The Themes of Robert Frost's Mending Wall Essay

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The Themes of Robert Frost's Mending Wall One of the major themes of Frost's Mending Wall is the cycle of the seasons. Several phrases refer to the seasons, particularly in a repetitive, cyclic way: "spring mending-time," "frozen ground-swell," "once again," "spring is the mischief in me." Another theme is parallelism or the lack of it. Sometimes this parallelism takes a physical form, associated with the wall, as we imagine the two men walking parallel paths: "We meet to walk the line." "We keep the wall between us as we go." "One on a side." It is a mental wall, though, as well as a physical one, and I read the gaps as making possible a meeting of minds and attitudes as well as of lands and bodies. Closing the gaps in the wall means…show more content…
Richard Poirier points out that the poem is not only about the making of fences but the making of speech between men and, even more tellingly, the way the making of fences leads to the making of speech--poetry, really, against "the claustrophobias of mechanical forms." "Walls have a power of confinement which creates a counter-movement of 'mischief.'" Richard Poirier points out a significant fact: the mischievous poet "who voices his opposition to wall-building is also the man who each year informs his taciturn neighbor that it is time to build them." "Voice and nature are thus potentially allied." The cycles of nature and the seasons; parallelism; speech and poetry; the contrast between the physical and mental--I state such themes explicitly so that I can try to make each item of the poem relevant to every other through one or more of the themes. For example, what significance can I find in, "We wear our fingers rough with handling them"? The skin, it says, is another boundary being firmed up, and I can fit this line "under" the theme of walls and parallelism. Frost's psyche has nothing to do with this way of reading. Thematizing, as today's critical jargon has it, or simply "theming" is essential to my own sense of coherence in the poem and hence to my experience of it, although the themes themselves do not describe that experience, which remains finally emotional and
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