Describe the setting of the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

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The poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" was written in 1922 by Robert Frost. It was included in his Pulitzer Prize–winning collection New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes in 1924.

The poem is set in New England in the winter. Although the particular location is not named, Frost owned and lived on a farm in Franconia, New Hampshire, which serves as the inspiration and physical setting of many of his poems.

The poem itself describes the narrator riding a horse through some woods owned by a man who lives in the village nearby. There is no farmhouse or other habitation in sight at the place where the narrator stops. The narrator describes the location as being "Between the woods and frozen lake." Thus, we can describe the setting as a path or road through a forest in New Hampshire, near a lake, during a snowy winter day. The phrase "The darkest evening of the year" implies that the precise date is the Winter Solstice (21 or 22 December), which is the day with the shortest amount of sunlight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

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On the surface, the setting of Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” seems simple enough, but the setting of a poem is often indicative of its theme. Some find the theme of this poem questionable, in spite of its simplicity. Is it deep and mysterious, or simply the musings of a man enjoying a lovely evening before he hurries on to his duties?

The setting is rather straightforward. The speaker is traveling through the woods on a snowy night when he stops to experience his surroundings. He does not own the woods but is on another gentleman’s property, which includes a deep thicket of woodland, along with a frozen lake. It is the darkest night of the year, which indicates it is the Winter Solstice. The speaker finds the vision of the woods filling with snow enjoyable as he states, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep.” This would be indicative of Frost’s time in New Hampshire, where such a setting would prove to be an enjoyable escape to a many a New Englander.

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