Please explain lines 11 to 15 of "The Mending Wall".

Expert Answers
parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aren't you referring to "Mending Wall,"the poem by Robert Frost?

Frost expresses in these lines the "necessity" for barriers in spite of good will and even friendship.  The fact that the two neighbours help each other maintain the wall  between their properties graphically demonstrates this. Frost wonders why his proximity to his neighbour should be a potential menace of intrusion. Wouldn't they still be good neighbours if the wall were not there? Perhaps the answer is "Yes," but the wall concretizes their separation, their need for privacy and even exclusion. Rebuilding the wall together ironically honours this unspoken code of conduct. The age-old adage is indeed well put: 'Your liberty stops where another person's begins.'

epollock | Student


In these lines of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall:"

But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go. (Frost, 11-15)

It is the speaker, not the neighbor, who initiates the business of repairing the wall (12). It is an interesting point that it is not the neighbor (who believes that “good fences make good neighbors”) who initiates the ritual of mending the wall; rather, it is the speaker: “I let my neighbor know beyond the hill.” It suggests that “if fences do not ‘make good neighbors,’ the making of fences can,” for it makes for talk—even though the neighbor is hopelessly taciturn.