Walls Placed on Relationships in Mending Wall by Robert Frost

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Walls Placed on Relationships in Mending Wall by Robert Frost
In the poem "Mending Wall," Robert Frost utilizes the literary devices of imagery, meter, and symbolism to demonstrate the rational and irrational boundaries or metaphoric "walls" humans place on their relationships with others. The precise images, such as the depiction of the mending-time ritual and the dynamic description of his "old-stone savage armed" neighbor, serve to enhance our enjoyment as well as our understanding of the poem (40). The poem is written in blank verse (iambic pentameter); the form that most closely resembles everyday English. Frost deliberately employs this direct, conversational, and easy to understand style of meter which appears
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It is a ritual which contains its own paradox; the two neighbors are cooperating together to sustain this barrier which divides them. As they mend, Frost begins to question the reasoning behind the walls existence. His neighbor's only response is "Good fences make good neighbors" (27). The neighbor's uninterested attitude and indifferent response forces Frost to inquire further. He attempts to justify the wall by using a logical argument. There would be a need for walls if they had cows or similar pasture animals, but he and his neighbor have no such animals. Frost not only wants his neighbor to consider what he is walling in but also ponder what he is walling out and why. Deaf to any arguments, the farmer "will not go behind his father's saying" and question his strong conviction of good fences making good neighbors (43).
The stubborn neighbor's blind acceptance and "in the dark" way of living is paralleled by the image Frost paints of him. In line 40, a simile is used describing him as "like an old-stone savage armed" as he works toward restoring the wall. This man who is so insistent on maintaining this wall is a product of a long-gone age of thinking. He is like a savage from the time when it was essential to wall yourself off from other savages for safety and protection. Lines 41 and 42 continue: "He moves in the darkness as it seems to me, not of woods only and the shade of trees." He is not only in the dimness provided by the
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