What is the central idea of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening?"    

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In the poem, an individual is briefly arrested by a beautiful winter scene. Despite the fact that he has so much work to do and obligations to which he must attend ("promises to keep"), he feels compelled to stop to "watch [the] woods fill up with snow" and to appreciate...

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In the poem, an individual is briefly arrested by a beautiful winter scene. Despite the fact that he has so much work to do and obligations to which he must attend ("promises to keep"), he feels compelled to stop to "watch [the] woods fill up with snow" and to appreciate how "lovely, dark and deep" the forest is. The poem's mood feels quite tranquil, aided by images that convey the scene's beauty and silence. The narrator is alone in the woods (except for his horse) because the man who owns the land lives "in the village." Moreover, it is the "darkest evening of the year," and the speaker enjoys the serenity to be found in solitude and the relative silence of "the sweep / Of easy wind and downy flake." The poem shows how possible it is for us to stop and appreciate the beauty of a moment like this. We may be pulled in many different directions by our many and myriad responsibilities, but this should not prevent us from stopping to appreciate these peaceful moments when they come.

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At the center of Robert Frost's poem is the description of a moment of contemplation -- how our daily activities, in all their complexity of decision and actions, the moments obfuscate the larger "meanings" of our actual physical existence.   The narrator here (we always assume "I" means Frost himself here) is near the end of a day of mundane, everyday activities, when the tranquility of the scene temporarily causes him to pause.  Even his horse, a creature of simple consciousness that is freed of the burden of self-consciousness, "thinks it queer" that they should stop here for no apparent reason (Frost purposely uses the word "thinks"), just as we, in our daily routines, do not stop to contemplate the present.  The poem, then, becomes a snapshot of our own (the reader's) failure to live in the moment. 

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