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How does the theme of isolation of the individual sum up the message of the poem,...

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yasmin2 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2013 at 1:27 PM via iOS

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How does the theme of isolation of the individual sum up the message of the poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 22, 2013 at 1:55 PM (Answer #1)

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The isolation that the speaker experiences reaffirms the sense of duty and responsibility that is embraced at the end of the poem. The speaker articulates a condition of being isolated from others. The setting in which the speaker reflects is one in which there is no one else around.  "He will not see me stopping here" enhances this feeling of being alone in the woods.  In this setting of isolation, without distractions or other attachments, the speaker is forced to reflect about their condition in the world.  It is through this isolation and sense of reflection that the speaker is able to embrace the need to uphold the duty and responsibility that is intrinsic to their being. It is isolation that enables the speaker to fully understand what duty entails and of what responsibility consists.  "The promises to keep" and "miles to go before I sleep" are realities that dawn upon the speaker only when there is total isolation from others.  The theme of isolation helps to enhance the overall message of duty and responsibility that is evident in the poem.

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