Compare and contrast the point of view of the two neighbors in "Mending Wall." What are the two perspectives regarding the wall, and how are readers to understand them?

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In Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall ,” the speaker begins by observing that nature itself seems to want to bring down the wall. Both frost and sunlight attack it to the point where it needs to be repaired every year. He shares this attitude himself, questioning why they need...

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In Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” the speaker begins by observing that nature itself seems to want to bring down the wall. Both frost and sunlight attack it to the point where it needs to be repaired every year. He shares this attitude himself, questioning why they need a wall between them. There are no cows to keep in or out and the borders between their properties are clear enough without a wall.

His neighbor, however, merely repeats his own father’s saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” He likes this idea so much that he repeats it again, concluding the poem with this final confirmation of their separateness. The speaker has to make an appointment to meet his neighbor at “spring mending-time,” showing that they are not in the habit of meeting socially. Even when they are working together to mend the wall, they keep it as a barrier between them as they go, remaining each on his own property.

The wall is clearly a symbol of the division between two people. The speaker’s taciturn, reclusive neighbor, who barely talks at all except to repeat his father’s saying, wants the wall to remain both literally and figuratively. “He moves in darkness” so far as the speaker is concerned and intends to continue doing so. The speaker wonders with a touch of wistfulness what it might be like to have a more sociable relationship but respects his neighbor’s privacy and allows him the last word.

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