Do you agree with the speaker in "Mending Wall"? In the poem, "Mending Wall", written by Robert Frost, the speaker says that he wants to break the wall. Do you agree with him?

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I, too, found this part of the poem ironic in that the narrator of the poem seems to be poking fun (being sarcastic) about the fact that the neighbor keeps mending the wall.  A wall is simply a barrier that really cannot keep people off of each others' property, if one is realistic about it.  One could climb over the wall, walk around it in some instances, etc.  I think one of Frost's points is that "walls" are internal, realistically.  They are symbols that represent the ones we put up in ourselves.

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I do agree.  Walls make good neighbors in that what is and should be private can remain that way.  The wall is still low enough that the neigbors can converse over the top of it and also work together each year to maintain it's integrity.  There are only a select few people whom I would want to disclose everything to--everyone else is a friendly acquaintance to whom I speak and disclose only the parts of my life I want them to know.

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The famous quote from this poem has been mentioned above "good fences make good neighbors."  However, this is an ironic statement.  The narrator is critical of his neighbor for constantly repairing the wall that keeps people out.  Frost was commenting on society's tendency to alienate others, to be wary of the unknown, and thus to cause the breakdown in communities.  I do agree with him.  We close ourselves off so much from each other that we often turn away much needed support.  How wonderful would the world be if we didn't have "borders"? 

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Well, the speaker doesn't exactly want the wall down: "Something...wants it down."

The poem shows two neighbours coming together for the annual rebuilding of the wall between their properties. Although the speaker seems dubious about what function the wall has, it is he who initiates the rebuilding ("I let my neighbour know...") as well as doing irregular repairs on his own initiative ("I have come after them [hunters] and made repair"). But he also dismisses the rebuilding as "just another kind of outdoor game." Why does he play?

I think the answer is that while he may feel the wall should be unnecessary, he also needs to keep his neighbour at a distance. He teases the man, but is wary of him and cannot understand his clinging to "his father's saying" about good neighbours needing good fences. Near the end, the narrator slips into a defensive tone,

I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees

This evokes the original function of walls, from the Garden of Eden onward, to keep "darkness" outside, away from human civilization.

To sum up, nature and growth work against walls, but the ever-present threat from the incomprehensible otherness of our fellow humans preserves walls as a guarantee that we know our bounds and will keep our peace by respecting each others' limits.

You've done a fabulous job of interpreting the poem, but I really don't think Frost meant for us to work so hard to understand his poetry. Read the poem again. See if you catch the speaker's displeasure at having to repair the wall every year. He'd rather leave it alone, let the gap grow. It's his neighbor who thinks good fences make good neighbors. Frost would be much more likely to sit on the wall and contemplate the nature around him. He did like his privacy; if you've ever seen how isolated his cabin at Bread Loaf is, you'll understand that. However, he also liked company.

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Well, the speaker doesn't exactly want the wall down: "Something...wants it down."

The poem shows two neighbours coming together for the annual rebuilding of the wall between their properties. Although the speaker seems dubious about what function the wall has, it is he who initiates the rebuilding ("I let my neighbour know...") as well as doing irregular repairs on his own initiative ("I have come after them [hunters] and made repair"). But he also dismisses the rebuilding as "just another kind of outdoor game." Why does he play?

I think the answer is that while he may feel the wall should be unnecessary, he also needs to keep his neighbour at a distance. He teases the man, but is wary of him and cannot understand his clinging to "his father's saying" about good neighbours needing good fences. Near the end, the narrator slips into a defensive tone,

I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees

This evokes the original function of walls, from the Garden of Eden onward, to keep "darkness" outside, away from human civilization.

To sum up, nature and growth work against walls, but the ever-present threat from the incomprehensible otherness of our fellow humans preserves walls as a guarantee that we know our bounds and will keep our peace by respecting each others' limits.

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