Many people have criticized Frost for being too concerned with the past or with things that have nothing to do with the modern world (like blenders, radios, and TV). Do you agree with this...

Many people have criticized Frost for being too concerned with the past or with things that have nothing to do with the modern world (like blenders, radios, and TV). Do you agree with this criticism? Can you relate to this poem?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert Frost wrote poems over a period spanning nearly half a century, from 1914 to his death in 1989. The world saw tremendous changes during that time, going through two world wars and a cold war. Transportation changed, technology changed, family relationships changed. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," however, was written in 1922, before many of the changes Robert Frost would see in his lifetime came to pass. 

Although the environment we live in changes over time, the realities of the human condition do not. People still experience emotions of love, fear, hope, and despair in the same ways people have from the dawn of time. Classic works of literature speak to these undying themes that bind humanity together, no matter what culture they live in. To me, this poem is a classic that reflects such themes. Inserting references to the modern world into this poem would do nothing to improve its relevancy and might, in fact, detract from its power.

Let's say it was "Driving through Woods on a Snowy Evening," and the horse was replaced with a car. The man gets out of his car for a few minutes to watch the snow fall. The experience could be almost identical; the only thing missing would be the questioning shake of the horse's head and the sound of his harness bells. Instead we might have the rumbling of the car engine. Would the poem be improved? I don't think so. The fact that the horse is a living creature gives the man some companionship and "someone" to bring another opinion into the story, making the experience more relational for the man. Having only his car there with him would not have the same gentle effect as when the horse "ask[s] if there is some mistake."

The poem is about being able to enjoy nature as a brief respite from the obligations of life. This is still an experience anyone can have, all across the world. The fact that it is set in the past only adds further charm to the scene; bringing in modern elements would not have improved the meaning of this poem and would probably detract from it.

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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