Response to the Poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost
This is one of my favorite poems, and every time I read it, I find something I haven't noticed before, especially the conflict that the author portrays. It is said that this poem was written about an early period of personal frustration, and the contemplation of suicide. But I believe there are several ways to look at it. The meaning of the narrator's response to the woods is caught in the contrast between the relaxed, conversational idiom of the first three lines, and the dream-like descriptive detail and hypnotic flowing of the last few lines. Clearing and wilderness, law and freedom, civilization and nature, fact and dream are the oppositions …show more content…
Dramatically, the poem builds to a climax and then makes its way down to resolution. At its heart found in line 8, it implies a tension. Is this the "darkest evening of the year" because it is December 22, the winter solstice, or because of some emotional turmoil in the viewer's spirit? Is the poem a veiled death wish? Whatever the reader's interpretation, the speaker reassures that a moment of contemplation of the "dark and deep" is normal and uplifting, for the figure decides to continue toward his destination.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
These are the best lines in the poem I believe because having paid tribute to the dangerous seductiveness of the woods, the narrator seems to be trying to shake himself back into commonsense by invoking his promises' or responsibilities. The last line is repeated, however, and while at first it seems little more than another reference to the journey he has to complete (and so a way of telling himself to continue on down the road), the repetition gives it particular resonance that is creepy yet meaningful. I believe that this is a reference to the brief span of