Introduction (Masterplots II: Poetry, Revised Edition)
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is easily one of the most famous, as well as one of the most anthologized, of Robert Frost’s poems. It consists of four quatrains that have the following rhyme scheme: aaba, bbcb, ccdc, dddd. The poem’s central narrative is simple, and the scene is understated, even stark, bare of elaboration or detail. A traveler pauses late one snowy evening to admire the woods by which he passes. He reflects that the owner of the woods, who lives in the village, will not see him stopping to “watch his woods fill up with snow.”
The speaker interrupts his reflections by imagining that his “little horse must think it queer” to stop without a farmhouse nearby on the “darkest evening of the year.” In the third stanza, the speaker expands this conceit, suggesting that anxiety over the untoward action causes the horse to shake his harness bells “To ask if there is some mistake.” Then, by way of contrast, the speaker notes that “the only other sound’s the sweep/ Of easy wind and downy flake.”
Something about the woods compels the speaker’s interest, and by the poem’s end, as most critics note, one has the sense that there is more to these woods than meets the eye. In the last verse, the speaker acknowledges that the “woods are lovely, dark and deep.” He seems reluctant, however, to pursue this insight more deeply, since he immediately observes that he has “promises...
(The entire section is 401 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!