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What does Frost mean by "the darkest evening of the year" and "miles to...

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shambl | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 7, 2008 at 11:14 AM via web

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What does Frost mean by "the darkest evening of the year" and "miles to go before I sleep"?

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

Posted April 7, 2008 at 8:08 PM (Answer #1)

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"The darkest evening of the year" would be the night before the Winter Solstice (December 21), which is the longest night of the calendar year.  The man in the poem is riding his horse through the woods on a snowy December evening, and he stops to contemplate the beauty of the woods as they "fill up with snow".  As much as he would like to remain in the quiet splendor of the snowy forest, the man realizes that he has responsibilities and "promises to keep".  He has "miles to go" before he arrives home, so he is forced to drag himself away from the peaceful scene and head home.

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