What does the image of the absent house convey in the poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening?’

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skyey-i | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Eveningis a poem that glorifies nature in its pristine beauty.  Although Frost avoids using ornate language or descriptive passages to describe the splendor of the woods, he creates an unforgettable picture with very simple words (mostly monosyllabic) and his brevity of expression. It isn't for nothing that he mentions the house of the owner of the woods at the very outset. Interestingly, the house remains absent throughout the poem, yet it makes a crucial contribution to achieve the desired effect.

 The image of the absent house is significant in more than one way:

  • Its absence signifies absence of any human activity. Absence of human activity further suggests that the woods and its surroundings lie untouched and unspoiled. Nothing has been tampered with and everything here exists in its primeval and pure state.
  • As the house is located in the village, the poet is in no hurry to leave the woods. He can prolong his stay and gratify himself with its charm and beauty.
  • It also implies that the place is wrapped in an atmosphere of peaceful and soothing silence. It helps the poet to meditate much better on the blissful aspect of the untarnished nature.   
  • The absence of the house also indicates the absence of all the negativities associated with human character – greed, deceit, cruelty, insensitivity, intolerance, selfishness and untruthfulness.

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