What kind of attitudes toward faith and God are at work in the poem?"Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With so much having been written on Frost's wonderful poem, there are many avenues of interpretation which the reader may take.  For instance, in The Virginia Quarterly Review, James M. Cox observes that this poem contains "haunting rhythms" which in part are created by the "logic of the rhyme scheme."  This marvelouslly unobtrustive technique suggests to different readers that which "haunts" them personally, probably.  Certainly, the setting is one which obliterates dimension of the secular world. For, people who have found themselves alone in a sylvan environment after a heavy snowfall experience an aesthetic awakening, if not a spiritual one. So, alone with

the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake

the speaker arrests his routine-driven self and listens and observes in aesthetic appreciation for the beauty of Nature.

 The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

Indeed, Frost's speaker seems to underscore the mystery and attraction of beauty.  Yet as Francis Bacon observed,

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.

The horse, that most intuitive of animals, senses not the neglect of duty, but this "strangeness" of something so divinely lovely and shakes his head in incomprehension as well as a domination of his own spirit.  So, too, is the speaker enthralled with this metaphysical moment of communion with nature, God's creation.

Were this a "Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening
written by a Transcendentalist such as Emerson or Thoreau, perhaps readers would not search so assiduously for "more significant" interpretations of this poem. For, the Transcendentalists felt that communication with Nature is an ethereal experience. Likewise, Robert Frost, who revered the beauty of nature in New England pays homage to the heavenly experience of the aesthetic moment.

Read the study guide:
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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