The beauty of Robert Frost's poem,"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," lies in its simplicity. Justify this claim.

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jmj616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert Frost's poem, "Stoppin by Woods on a Snowy Evening," is in many ways a model of simplicity.

The words used in the poem are almost exclusively simple, familiar words. The only exceptions might be the phrase "harness bells," which might be obscure to many 21st-century readers, and the word "queer," which is used in the older sense of "strange," rather than the contemporary sense of "homosexual."

The words are also almost exclusively short words that contain just one or two syllables.  The only 3-syllable word in the poem is "promises," which hardly qualifies as a "5-dollar word."

The imagery in the poem is clear and easy to understand: A man on a horse stops and looks at a wooded area fill up with snow; the horse shakes its harness bells.

The rhyme scheme is simple: AABA, except for the last stanza, whose rhyme scheme is AAAA.  

The poem ends with the simplest of poetic devices: repetition--

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The only thing that is not so simple are the narrator's motivations and thoughts: why does the narrator stop his horse, and what are the promises that he needs to keep, and why does he think that the woods are so "lovely."  These questions are left for the reader to think about.

The other question I have is: Is it so simple to write such a simple poem and have it still being read almost 100 years later?


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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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