In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," why was the horse surprised? Where did the poet stop during his journey? Did the poet stay there for long?

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In the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," the speaker shares a precious moment with us. On the way to keep some promises, he stops his ride briefly to take in the beauty of the frozen countryside through which he is traveling. He seems to want to savor a precious moment and to immerse himself in it, to take full advantage of the silent, silvery view before he and his horse have to move on. He wonders if his horse is surprised that he has chosen to stop his journey before he has reached his destination; they are in the middle of nowhere. The reason he gives for the surprise of his little horse is that the horse might wonder why there is no house nearby, not even the house of the man who owns the land (he lives further on in the village).

The spot at which he chooses to pause his travels for a few moments seems to have a view of the woods, and we get the impression that it is outside the village. Frost tells us that his vantage point is between the woods and a frozen lake, and we guess that it must be deep midwinter as his journey takes place on the darkest evening of the year, which suggests that it may be around the winter solstice when daylight hours are at their shortest. For some readers this may add a little magical quality of mystery to the atmosphere.

The duration of the pause in the rider's travels is hinted at by the description of the falling snow. Frost tells us that the rider stays at his vantage point long enough to watch the woods fill up with snow. We are told that the snow is deep and that the flakes are falling freely, so we can guess that it is falling fairly fast onto frozen ground. We know this because the ground underneath is already hard and very cold--the lake is frozen. We know, however, that the rider does not dally for too long as there are time constraints on his journey. Even his little horse seems to know they should be moving along, and we get a rare impression of movement in the poem when Frost tells us about the impatience of the horse. The animal jingles his harness in the snowy silence, seemingly keen to proceed. The rider also knows he is on a time limit because he tells us that he has promises to keep. The day is fast closing and he knows that at the end of it he will need to sleep.

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