Is the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" all about creating balances?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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What an interesting concept! I have never come across this statement in relation to this poem before. We can easily relate it to "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" when we consider the symbolic significance of the woods and the desire of the speaker to stay there and the way that he is almost mesmerised by them. This is of course balanced by his feeling of obligation and the need that he has to "keep" the promises that he has made. Consider the final stanza, which is key in building up this symbolic meaning:

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

The attractiveness of the words is indicated through their description of them as being "lovely, dark, and deep," clearly indicating the way that the speaker wants to spend more time there and sees them as something of a release from his life in the world. However, at the same time, he is aware of his many obligations in the world before he can get to "sleep." The repeition of the final line indicates that this "sleep" may be more than just a well-deserved night's sleep after a hard day's work, and may actually represent death or the relinquishing of responsibilities. There is a balance created therefore between our need to work and to fulfil our obligations on the one hand, and our desire to find release from work and responsibilities on the other. The poem suggests that it is right to stop and enjoy silence and solitude, and we need to do this in order to find the inner-strength to continue with the responsibilities of life.

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