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How do the literary devices in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" make it...

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mrusso93 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 13, 2008 at 5:15 AM via web

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How do the literary devices in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" make it a well-written piece?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 13, 2008 at 7:01 AM (Answer #1)

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Frost's poem is tightly constructed, imbued with multiple layers of meaning, and thematically important in its treatment of both the individual and the environment.

From the first line, we see Frost's deft touch: "Whose woods are these, I think I know." We have the alliteration of whose and woods, these and think, I and I. We also know that the place he wanders through is familiar, but that he is probably a trespasser.

Notice how the word "woods" is repeated four times. Each time "woods" appears, one senses the speaker's isolation, both physically and spiritually. The woods separate the speaker from humans and place him within the coldness of the natural world: "Whose woods are these I think I know / His house is in the village though"; the woods "fill up with snow" and are on a "frozen lake"; the woods are "lovely, dark, and deep."

The natural world may be harsh but the speaker finds beauty there as well. For example, the snow that falls is given the beautiful description of "downy flakes." The woods, though cold and frozen, are also "lovely."

The use of figurative language is another device Frost uses. We do not know what "promises" the speaker has made, but the twice repeated "miles to go before I sleep" may mean that it is a long time before the man will die and that there is much to do before his time on earth comes to an end.

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