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Are there any figures of speech in the poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy...

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shambl | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2008 at 5:11 PM via web

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Are there any figures of speech in the poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

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Susan Woodward | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 8, 2008 at 8:54 PM (Answer #1)

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The first thing to notice is the meter of the poem. Frost uses iambic tetrameter (four repetitions of an "unstressed-stressed" pattern), which seems to recreate the sound of a horse's hoofbeats. It's a pleasant sound that lulls the reader and could make him feel part of the scene. The poem is filled with imagery that helps set a peaceful atmosphere and tone. Through Frost's words, one can visualize snow falling lightly in the woods while a solitary rider and his horse are the only witnesses. The use of alliteration in the first stanza ("w", "wh", "h") creates soft sounds, much like the evening wind blowing thorugh the trees. Assonance ("o" and "ah" sounds) creates a similar effect. Frost uses a hyperbole when the narrator says that he will "watch his woods fill up with snow", and that aids the imagery. In the second stanza, the horse is personified and acts as a witness with the rider to the peaceful scene. The rider is jarred back to reality by the fourth stanza with the line "But I have promises to keep"; however, the use of repetition in the lines "and miles to go before I sleep" almost makes it seem as if the rider is reluctant to leave and is trying to convince himself that he must be on his way.

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